Ms. Destiney Hicks’ mom keeps waiting for her to knock on the door.
Her son thinks she is dead, and just wants closure.
The police used to call at least once every two weeks to see if she has returned. They haven’t called in two years.
Ms. Hicks is one of 20 missing persons featured on the Atlanta Police Department’s website at:http://www.atlantapd.org/missingpersons.aspx. Eight were reported missing in 2010. Some have been missing since 1991. A few like Ms. Hicks suffer from some form of illness. They are men and women who were last seen leaving their homes to run errands, hang out with friends, or travel; but never made it back home.
It’s been almost five years since Ms. Hicks left her Hogan Road home to walk to the Kroger store 10 minutes away. Her brother didn’t like her being gone too long.
She is suffering from schizophrenia and he was the one who had to get her the night she almost killed herself after driving her car into a bridge.
That was the first of her two breakdowns, which happened about two months after her father died in March of 1992, Mrs. Marion Hicks said. He had been her rock, Mrs. Hicks said of her husband. She was daddy’s little girl and he was always there for her as she struggled to raise two children, one of them suffering from cerebral palsy, Mrs. Hicks said.
The second break down came a few months later. Ms. Destiney Hicks was hearing and responding to voices, talking so loud she would keep her family up at nights. She’s been hospitalized twice, Mrs. Hicks said. It was a problem to get her to stay on her medication, her mom said.
Ms. Destiney Hicks’ son Donato Wilkins said his mom would take off sometimes, especially when she became upset with her mother. But she never stayed away too long.
On March 31, 2006, Ms. Destiney Hicks’ brother stayed up all night, waiting. And when his sister still hadn’t returned by the next morning, he told his mom.
Mrs. Marion Hicks said she called police that day. But they said her daughter had to be gone for 48 hours. So an officer didn’t show up until the next day, April 2, 2006.
Ms. Hicks told him about the last time she saw her daughter. She has spoke of that day many times. Her daughter was wearing grey or black pants and a blue jeans jacket. Her hair was in a pony tail. She looked nice, her mother thought; and she told her so.
“Where are you going?”
“I’m going to the store.”
Then her last words, “Bye mom.”
Mrs. Hicks told the officer that her daughter has never stayed away for more than a day. The officer contacted the detective working homicides and missing cases, according to an Atlanta police report. He also canvassed the area, the report said.
Family members did their own search, hanging up posters downtown and throughout the neighborhood. They rode around to see if they could find her.
Mrs. Hicks never gave up hope.
“Sometimes I have a feeling she is still alive. I don’t want to think that she is not alive,” Mrs. Hicks said. “One day she will ring the doorbell.”
Ms. Hicks’ son isn’t so sure.
“No matter how mad she got at my grandmother. No matter how bad the disease got, she would eventually call my grandmother or come by,” Mr. Wilkins, 23, said. “I think someone found her and took advantage of her vulnerable condition.
“She has not reached out, no phone call, no letter, nothing. It just doesn’t seem right.”
Still, he says, there is some hope.
“That’s human nature,” he said. “It just makes me sad.”
Each week there will be a feature on a person reported missing through law enforcement from in and around the Metropolitan Atlanta area.