Mom of Huber man who died in drainage pipe: ‘I knew there was something wrong with our son’

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Family says Chuck Dickens Jr. was "not himself" when he died

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The family of Chuck Dickens Jr. received calls Sunday from Ohio State Highway Patrol while the man hid in a drainage culvert nearly 200 miles away from his Huber Heights home.

What they learned unsettled them — the 26-year-old man sideswiped another driver in Belmont County, near West Virginia, hopped out of his car, ran into a drainage culvert and, troopers told them, “threatened to kill somebody.”

“I was scared,” said Dickens’ sister, Stephany Hayes. “I just said, ‘Don’t hurt my brother.’”

MORE: Huber man fled moving car, died in pipe

Family members later received another call informing them of Dickens’ death, the cause of which remains unknown, although troopers suspect the combination of water and low temperatures could have triggered hypothermia.

“I think my brother may have been just bottling things up,” said Hayes, who lived with Dickens and was the subject of several of her brother’s bizarre Facebook posts before he died.

She said the Chaminade-Julienne High School and Central State University graduate who studied business “struggled to get a job that matched his degree.”

Dickens’ family spoke in an exclusive interview with this newsroom, conducted by News Center 7’s Caroline Reinwald. They said Dickens was an “ambiguous” character who was not extroverted, but didn’t seem introverted, either. But they noticed a shift in behavior in days before his death.

MORE: Troopers comb Huber man’s pre-death posts

“He was acting unusual,” Hayes said, noting he had just started a second-shift factory job. “I know he did not have a lot of sleep. He was kind of erratic.”

Their mother also recognized the odd behavior. Rhonda Hayes said she had a conversation with her son Sunday and “could tell he was not in his best thoughts.”

“I kept asking him to go home and he said, ‘no, I’m not.’” Hayes said. “I could feel as a mother he just wasn’t himself, and all day at work I couldn’t focus because I knew there was something wrong with our son.”


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