December 29, 2011
A Fluvanna County man missing since 2004 was officially declared dead at the request of his relatives.
The family of Jesse Morgan Hicks was in court Thursday for the civil hearing, asking that the court declare him dead for civil matters like insurance, estates, marriage, etc. Hicks disappeared on Sept. 1, 2004 and hasn't been seen or heard from since.
Hicks was last seen driving his 2004 maroon Ford F-150 truck in the Blenheim area of Albemarle County. Four days later, the vehicle was found abandoned in a parking area off Route 29, near the intersection with Route 6 in Nelson County.
State law (Title 64-1 - Wills and Decedent's Estates, Chapter 5, section 64-1-105) says anyone who has been missing for seven years can be declared dead:
"Any person who has resided in this Commonwealth who (i) leaves, does not return to the Commonwealth for seven years successively and is not heard from; (ii) disappears for seven years successively and is not heard from; or (iii) disappears in a foreign country, whose body has not been found and who is not known to be alive, upon issuance of a report of presumptive death by the Department of State of the United States, shall be presumed to be dead.”
Fluvanna County authorities, however, say that hearing will have no impact on the criminal investigation. They continue to search for clues in his disappearance, but say they still lack key information needed to locate Hicks.
Anyone with information on Hicks' disappearance is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 434-977-4000 or Investigator Thomas Brennan of the Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office at 434-589-8211. There is still a reward of up to $10,000 available to any person with information on the case.