Marc Hoover: Psychic detectives: Are their abilities real or are they just con artists?

Marc Hoover

In March 1997, a frantic woman entered the R&S Newsroom in Sharon, Pennsylvania to visit Mary Ellen Rodrigues. The frantic woman was an acquaintance and said her Son-in-Law Darryl Cozart, a Sharpsville, Pennsylvania man was missing. She asked Rodrigues to post a flier of her missing Son-in-Law in the shop. Rodrigues held the flier in her hand and stared at Darryl Cozart’s picture. The beloved husband and father had disappeared on either March 1st or 2nd after getting off work at a local Red Lobster restaurant where he worked as a cook.

After holding the flier, Rodrigues told her friend that Darryl was deceased. The friend left the store and returned with her daughter, Jeannette Cozart (Darryl’s wife). Jeannette and her mother stared at Rodrigues in disbelief.

“Darryl is dead?

Rodrigues explained that she had psychic abilities and could see Darryl standing next to the distraught women. Only he was in spiritual form and angry. Someone had murdered him and he wanted to identify his killer.

To prove Darryl’s spirit was present, Rodriguez asked Jeannette about the movie Ghost with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. Did the movie have any significance? Jeannette said Ghost was her and Darryl’s favorite movie. According to Rodriguez, Darryl kept saying Fickle Fickle. But no one would know what it meant until later. Rodrigues told Jeannette and authorities she could see Darryl’s body laying near water with a rope tied around his neck. Someone murdered him.

Rodrigues claimed Darryl’s sprit was haunting her and wouldn’t leave. He kept in constant contact with her and continued to offer clues about his homicide. On March 10, 1997, truckers found Cozart’s deceased body near Ashtabula, Ohio. As Rodrigues predicted, Cozart’s body was found near a body of water. Additionally, someone tied a rope around Cozart’s neck and had shot him five times.

After locating the body, authorities soon learned what had happened to Darryl Cozart.

On March 1, 1997, Cozart had left home to meet with friends at the Red Lobster where Cozart worked. He wasn’t seen again. Authorities learned that Cozart had been carrying on an affair with a woman named Cynthia Ann Fickle.

After Frank Fickle learned that his estranged wife was having an affair with Cozart, he killed Cozart in the basement of his home. Cynthia Fickle testified against her husband and wasn’t involved in the homicide.

A jury convicted Fickle on May 4, 1998 of first degree murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and remains incarcerated today. Although it’s not a common practice for police to enlist psychics to help solve crimes, it does occur.

Rodrigues identified the killer, his street location and described Cozart’s body and how someone had hidden it away in weeds near water. Coincidence or just luck? It all depends on your thought process.

Although I don’t think all psychics are legitimate, it doesn’t surprise me that some people have extraordinary unexplainable “gifts.”

Sometimes to solve a homicide, police departments need to use unorthodox methods to solve crimes. Regardless, to convict a criminal, a murder case needs evidence. Psychics are just a tool and may give officers a small piece of the mystery. Although psychics have detractors, it doesn’t explain how Mary Ellen Rodrigues knew Darryl Cozart was dead or the killer’s identity.

Psychics have been around for centuries. For instance, Nostradamus, is one of the most known psychics of all time. He once made many prophecies which have come true. The predictions, however, involved natural disasters like floods and earthquakes. So could Nostradamus have solved crimes back in the 1500s? No one knows. But then you would need psychic abilities to know for sure.

Marc is a grandparent and longtime resident of Clermont County. Visit his author page at He also wrote Just Bite Me: A Guide to Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Walking Nightmares, which is available on