DUBLIN, Ga. — Nicola Hicks will never forget this week. It was early Monday morning when someone shot her oldest son, Richard Collins, leaving him dead at 29 years old.
"I'm holding it together because I got to hold it together," she said.
She said she's staying strong for her family- Collins' six siblings and his nine children. She wants him to be remembered as a family man all around.
"His kids weren't left out for nothing. There wasn't a moment that he wasn't there for his kids," she said.
The youngest left behind is a baby less than a year old. Collins also had twin boys who will never know their father for his loving personality.
"He'll make sure he helped other people, like long as he got it, he give it," Hicks said.
Collins worked in construction and loved his job, she said. He wanted to open his own business cutting hair soon. He was a huge fashion fan and loved collecting sneakers. He had already bought his outfit to celebrate his 30th birthday, which would have been within two days of his funeral this month. He was a huge mama's boy, always calling his mom to update her on his life.
"I just basically was just talking to him about going on a mother and son date," she said.
While she's grieving what might have been, she's also nagged by questions about how he died. No arrest has been made on the case, which the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating.
One question she has is regarding the time of his death. GBI told us a coroner pronounced Collins dead at 2:23 a.m. Hicks said an agent on the scene told her at 4:30 a.m. that her son still wasn't pronounced dead. She said she was also never asked to identify his body.
While she waits for answers, she's holding onto memories. By sharing his photos, wearing his hats, and telling his kids about the kind of person he was- she's keeping his memory alive in her family.
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More Than A Number is a Poynter-Stand Together award-winning project by Justin Baxley designed to help families of loved ones impacted by tragedy and trauma interact with journalists in a less intrusive way. Families are able to fill out a form about their family and also receive an in-depth guide on the next steps.
More Than A Number officially launched in August with a streaming special available on 13WMAZ+ for on-demand streaming. For any questions or concerns about More Than A Number, contact us here at the following email.