23 Years Later, Montlake Terrace Police Reopen Murder Case of Columbia City Resident

Tia Hicks, a Columbia City resident, was found murdered in Montlake Terrace in 1991. Now, MLT Police are reopening their only cold case. As the MLTNews reports:

On April 22, 1991, the body of a 20-year-old woman was found in a boat parked outside a bingo hall on 220th Street Southwest in Mountlake Terrace. Although the Snohomish County Medical Examiner ruled the woman’s cause of death “undetermined,” Mountlake Terrace police always considered the case a homicide. But evidence was scant and no prosecutable case could be built, frustrating law enforcement and the courts.

Now, almost 23 years later, the case is being reopened in hopes that new information and technology can crack open the only unknown death cold case currently on the books in Mountlake Terrace.

…Born and raised in the Rainier Valley, in southeast Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood, Tia Hicks had no connections to Mountlake Terrace beyond the location where her body was found. Mountlake Terrace Police Department Detective Sgt. Mike Haynes, who is leading the cold-case investigation, said Hicks was known to spend time on Aurora Avenue North. “I contacted some people who stayed in motels along Aurora and knew Tia and knew she, on occasion, would venture up that far,” he said.

For the 20-year-old Hicks, the trips to Aurora Avenue were to feed a growing drug habit, paid for through prostitution. Hicks’ father, Leonard Hicks, told a Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter in 2003 that his daughter had a drug problem and would simply leave home for days at a time.

During one absence, the father signed a Seattle Police Department missing person report after his daughter had been out of contact for a month. That was on Dec. 13, 1990; Tia’s body turned up four months later, more than 20 miles from home.

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