February 16, 2006 at 1:15 PM CST - Updated July 2 at 4:01 AM
Psychic Detectives in the Heartland - Part 1 By: Holly Brantley
Detectives on TV may turn to psychics when it looks like a crime’s headed for the cold case file. If you are one of the millions captivated by psychic detective shows, you might wonder are psychics for real? Can they help solve crimes? And, do Heartland Investigators ever seek their help?
You might be surprised to hear the answer is yes!
And those who haven't tell me they wouldn't rule out the possibility if there’s even the slightest chance a psychic might help solve a case. But, can a psychic lead investigators to the truth?
In part one of our psychic detectives series we revisit one Heartland case to learn more about these people who claim special powers.
It was late morning - November 2nd, 1985. A hunter discovers human skeletal remains on a farm in Williamson County. It’s one of the true stories of Murder in the Heartland, written by former sheriff Harry Spiller. “They did everything,” Spiller said. “Went out and questioned everybody and it was like he just vanished.” Spiller is talking about 32 year old Ronald Dean Hicks of Harrisburg who was last seen on a hot July day in 1985.
Three weeks later, with no where else to turn, Assistant Chief Dee Pelhank made a phone call. “He called the psychic and he didn't give her any information. She just started talking. She said she heard two gun shots and saw a green car, “ Spiller recalls.
The psychic told Pelhank she smelled a strong odor and saw an old building. She also told Pelhank she saw a path and coon dogs. Pelhank phoned the psychic twice. But, the information she gave was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Four months into the investigation, detectives finally got a break with the discovery of Ron Hicks remains. Suddenly, all of the psychic’s visions made sense. “She didn't solve the case because we didn't find the body as a result. But, from the perspective of what she gave and what she found in the end, she was right on the money,” said Spiller.
Spiller teachers Criminal Justice at JohnA.LoganCollege in Carterville. Spiller says psychics are used throughout the country and in the Heartland. “If I was still in police work, I wouldn't hesitate a minute to call a psychic. And, I wouldn't care what anybody though about it,” said Spiller. “It’s worth a try.”
Two people were tried and convicted for the murder of Ron Hicks.