'Dr. Phil' Helps Find Va. Bigamy Suspect

By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Who needs "America's Most Wanted" when you've got "Dr. Phil" to help capture supposed outlaws?

The case of Charles "Ed" Hicks, the Alexandria area man who has been married seven times but divorced only five, was featured yesterday on the syndicated "Dr. Phil" television show to emphasize the danger of bigamous men. A North Carolina woman spotted Hicks during the show's airing in the Charlotte area and said, "Oh my God, he's dating my sister!"

She called her sister, and then she called police.

Hicks, 61, was indicted last week in Chesapeake, Va., on a charge of felony bigamy. A warrant was issued, but he had not been arrested. The North Carolina women notified the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County police, and officers there arrested him at his current girlfriend's apartment at 1:35 p.m., said Julia Rush, a spokeswoman for the Mecklenburg County sheriff's office.

Hicks was living in the Hybla Valley area of Fairfax with his seventh wife, Sandra Phipps Hicks, when Sandra Hicks discovered he was still married to his sixth wife, Julie Flint Hicks. Ed Hicks was arrested on a charge of bigamy in Fairfax, but that charge was dismissed when it was determined that his sixth marriage also was bigamous and therefore invalid.

Linda Hembree of Shelby, N.C., said she first called her sister to say that Ed Hicks was on television. "She didn't believe it," Hembree said. "I said, 'Well, honey, turn on 'Dr. Phil!' "

Hembree said her sister, Barbara Hembree of Charlotte, had been dating Hicks for eight months after meeting him on the Internet. It was about eight months ago that Sandra Hicks discovered Hicks's history and booted him out.

Linda Hembree said Hicks had proposed to her sister last month, but Barbara Hembree wasn't ready to get married. Barbara Hembree, 54, was too upset yesterday to discuss the situation, Linda Hembree said.

"He was the most smooth-talking man I've ever met in my life," Linda Hembree said. She said Hicks had been shipping boxes to her sister's storage space in Charlotte in recent months and last week began spending much more time in North Carolina.

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