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Search warrant obtained reveals why police are focused on Ex-boyfriend of missing mom

Posted at 9:56 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 17:25:31-05

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — A search warrant obtained this afternoon reveals why police are focusing on the ex-boyfriend of a missing Scott County woman, including new clues from her cell phone.

According to an arrest citation by Georgetown police, 53-year-old Joseph Eugene Hicks was charged Friday morning with tampering with physical evidence, falsely reporting an incident and criminal mischief.

Family members of Sheena Baxter, who has been missing since Feb. 14, told LEX 18 that Hicks was a former boyfriend of Baxter.

The charges against Baxter stem from the same date she went missing. According to the police report Hicks was found with a gunshot wound to the wrist and allegedly claimed he had been shot by a "large black male" during a robbery attempt at Walmart.

The citation states investigators reviewed surveillance video and talked with people at the store, determining that Hicks' vehicle was not seen in the area an no one reported hearing any gunshots.

The report said investigators later determined that Hicks was in a semi truck at Phoenix Transportation in Georgetown prior to the shooting. Police said they found damage from a bullet inside that truck and also observed Hicks on surveillance video two days later with cleaning supplies in alleged effort to cover up evidence.

On Thursday night, police in Scott County confirmed they were investigating a possible connection to Baxter's disappearance and were at the scene at Phoenix Transportation, of East Yusen Way.

Scott County Sheriff Tony Hampton would not confirm at that time if there was a definite connection between Phoenix Transportation and Baxter's disappearance, only that it was a tangible lead.

Search warrant obtained by LEX 18 shows that Baxter’s cell phone ‘pinged’ to a location that was on Bourbon and Chambers Streets in Georgetown near the police station. It was inside Hicks’ car, which is being stored there.

Baxter’s sister Christa Crumley said today, Baxter and Hicks had dated for about one year, but had broken it off about one year ago.

She knew of him, but didn’t know him well.

Baxter last was seen outside a mobile home on Sundown Drive in Scott County, according to Christa Crumley, Baxter's sister.

Baxter, 32, went outside to put a bag in her car, Crumley said, but did not come back inside. Her family assumed Baxter had been picked up by her boyfriend, Crumley said, but the next day he said he had not seen Baxter.

"She’s my sister," Crumley said. "I don’t want this to happen to nobody. I want her home."

LEX 18 Investigates uncovered that Hicks has a lengthy criminal past.

According to court documents obtained by LEX 18, 53-year-old Joseph Hicks was once charged with first degree strong-armed rape in 1998, a charge later amended to first degree sex abuse in Hardin County. Documents show a judge probated him for five years.

In 2018, Baxter filed two separate protection orders against him claiming, "abuse, stalking and sexual abuse."

In one of the orders from June, 7 2018, Baxter told the courts the two had dated for six and a half months. She reported, "he has always been over controlling he has struck me a couple of time."

In the order she said, "I have to stay out of Scott County just to stay away from him, to keep him from trying anything."

Records show Baxter later requested both protection orders be dismissed, despite saying "I just don't know what to do anymore we have many calls and reports it's just getting worse and worse."

LEX 18 dove into Hicks criminal history and found previous convictions in multiple counties for offenses such as, failing to comply as a registered sex offender, harassing communications and violation of Kentucky EPO/DVO.