About a month ago – years after her mother was murdered in Highland County in the notorious Michael Fogt case – Crystal Pickens says she was told she likely has siblings she has never met.
Now 31, having lost all contact with her family and just learning the tragic details of her mother’s death, Pickens didn’t know what to think at first. But she soon decided that if she has siblings out there, she’d like to meet them – if they are willing.
“At first, it took me about a week, and I asked my friends what I should do. They said, ‘Find out what you can,’” Pickens said. “I’ve always wondered pretty much if I had any siblings, but by the time I knew to look for them, my mom, she was already dead. I wanted to know if (my siblings) knew about me, and to apologize to them for me not knowing for as long as I did, and for not being there for them.”
Pickens was 7 when her mother lost custody of her. She says that’s the same year she was moved out of state. Over the years, she says, she lived with various family members, but now lives in Warren, Mich., and has not spoken to any of her family for about three years.
Pickens’ mother was murdered by her former boyfriend, Michael Fogt. Her body was found buried in an auto garage that Fogt operated on U.S. Route 50 at the eastern edge of Hillsboro.
Fogt is serving a life sentence in prison after admitting to that murder in 2003, along with the murder of his wife, Martha Perry Fogt, who was also known as Martha Behymer. She was murdered in the Blanchester area between July 1998 and March 1999, but her body was not discovered until shortly after Cynthia Pickens’ body was found.
Fogt’s wife’s body was discovered buried in 55-gallon barrel beneath a concrete walkway he built where his parents lived on South West Steet in Hillsboro.
Fogt is not Crystal Pickens’ father. She believes the man who is her father may be alive, but she has no desire to contact him.
She just learned the details of Fogt’s crimes within the past week. She has been in touch with the Highland County Sheriff’s Office to learn more details about the case, and a sheriff’s deputy confirmed this week that case file information has been shared with Pickens. But she would like to know if she has siblings somewhere. She believes she was born in Columbus, and believes her mother had other children.
“Mostly I want to apologize,” she said. “I want to find out if they knew I existed, and if they want to have any kind of relationship. I’ve been thinking, ‘Is there anyone else out there?’ but I also didn’t know if I wanted to disrupt their lives.”
Maybe, Pickens said, if she does have siblings it would be best to talk to their adoptive parents or guardians first, to find out what they think. She said she would like to learn what happened to her siblings, how they grew up, and what they know about various events.
She said if she has siblings and they want to contact her, “I would be elated, but I would be nervous and probably go through some anxiety. If they don’t, it’s OK. I understand. But I would be elated if they want to. I would like to be their friend now so they know that I understand what they went through. I’d like to tell them I hope they had a better life, and that I know it had to be hard for them, like it was for me.”
Pickens said although she is well-adjusted, there’s a void in her life that she would like to fill.
“This whole thing is really interesting,” she said. “I’m not emotionally destroyed. I’m more interested than anything.”
Pickens said anyone with information that might be helpful can contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments have been closed for this story. Crystal Pickens can be reached at the email address at the end of the story. Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.