After 26 years of unanswered questions of never knowing who took his mother's life, an Eagle man is getting some closure.
On Wednesday in Boise, officers arrested and charged the man accused of killing Robert Hickey's mother, Marilyn Hickey, in Bremerton, Wash. in 1992. Fifty-four-year-old Lee Robert Miller is also suspected of killing a Boise woman in 1994, but that investigation is still ongoing.
Robert Hickey spoke on Friday about what the darkness he's been consumed by the last 26 years and how he’s feeling now that the man accused of killing his mother has been caught.
Hickey says that he’s still in shock, that he can't believe after all these years - years filled with anguish and sorrow - that a suspect has been caught. But he says he'll never forgive the person who killed his mother.
A binder on his shelf contains a few hundred words telling the story of how his mother's life was taken too soon.
"I’ve had this for 26 years, I'll never ever get rid of this. This will be buried with me in my casket,” Hickey said. “This is all I have left of her.”
A binder clutched tightly by a son who never had closure, who says his mother was taken before her time.
“Oh, she was great. She was five-foot tall, little bitty thing,” Hickey said of his mother, “Fun to be around, just a great person. Loved everybody, never caused trouble, you know, people loved her.
Hickey says his life was changed forever the day his mother was murdered in Bremerton, Wash. He says he was on a path of destruction, becoming a hateful, hurtful person.
"It tore me up that bad, where I was fighting all the time. It was terrible times,” Hickey said. "Not knowing and what happened it turned me into a bitter old man.”
"He's ruined our lives because of this,” he added.
The phone call from his brother bearing the news in September 1992 is still raw in his mind - and his heart.
“At first I thought he was BS-ing me; I said no way. She was only 57 when it happened,” Hickey said. “We didn't really know much except she was a victim of homicide is what he said. And at first I didn't really comprehend what that meant.”
Police never caught Marilyn Hickey's killer after the fact. Weeks would pass, turning into months, then years.
“I would call ‘em once a week. Then like once every month. And then, well, ‘we're working on it, we have a few leads," he said.
The case turned cold.
Hickey said being told year after year that no one had been held accountable for ending his mother’s life changed him.
"Because, you know, there's a person out there that has done this,” Hickey said, choking up. “And there's nothing you can do, you're helpless. You just wait for the phone call.”
He says that he always kept some semblance of hope, and his mother's murder never left his mind. But he didn't know if or when the day would ever come where he’d get that phone call.
“I've been waiting 26 years for this very day to happen. And when I got that call I went, alright, we have something. We finally have something," he said.
That call came Wednesday when Bremerton police told the Hickey family that the man suspected of killing Marilyn was in custody. Lee Miller is now charged with her murder in 1992.
“In Boise, right under our freaking noses is the killer,” Hickey added.
Hickey and his family are extremely grateful to the detectives and officers who were originally on the case and those who may have solved the cold case.
“I'm glad the detectives did a hell of a job and kept at it and opened this cold case because if it wasn't for them he would have never been caught,” Hickey said. “They didn't have to. They figure ‘oh well, cold case’. And they reopened it and for that I am thankful.”
While the closure is inching closer, Hikey feels he can't grieve his mom until the court proceedings are said and done and someone is actually convicted and found guilty.
"He deserves everything he gets. And that's what I want to see: I want justice. 26 years worth," Hickey said. “You only have one mother. One. He took it. He can never replace that, ever.”
Hickey was told Miller will be extradited to Washington sometime next week. Then, the case will play out in court.
Meanwhile, the Boise Police Department is still investigating the 1994 murder of Cheryle Barratt. As mentioned, Miller is still a suspect in that killing and hasn't been charged.