Husband charged with murder two years after wife disappeared in Michigan

The 52-year-old mother of five went missing in April 2021. Her body has never been found

Andrea Cavallier
Friday 24 November 2023 19:06 GMT
Dee Warner’s husband arraigned for her 2021 murder

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More than two years after Dee Ann Warner disappeared from her Michigan home, her husband has been charged with her murder.

Dale Warner, 53, was arraigned on Wednesday and will remain in jail through the holiday weekend following his arrest by Michigan State Police.

While an arrest has been made, what happened to Dee is still a mystery. The 52-year-old mother of five, who lived in Franklin Township about 70 miles southwest of Detroit, went missing in April 2021.

Despite extensive searches, including excavations at the property, K9-led efforts, and ground sonar, her body has never been found.

Dee Ann Warner went missing in April 2021
Dee Ann Warner went missing in April 2021 (Michigan State Police)

Dee’s family, who has been pushing for answers since her disappearance, were in the courtroom for Mr Warner’s arraignment.

They told WTVG they were relieved to finally see him behind bars and that it was “one step closer to closure.”

Following her disappearance in 2021, the family created a Justice for Dee campaign to raise awareness. Most recently, they’ve sought to have Warner declared legally dead.

“Both the prosecutor as well as Michigan State Police seem very confident in all the information they have. I’m pretty confident in everything they have,” said Zack Bock, Dee’s son. “They’ve been pretty diligent going through everything and making sure they turned over every stone they possibly could.”

At Mr Warner’s arraignment in Lenawee County District Court, he pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and tampering with evidence. His bond was set at $20m and a hearing is set for 27 November.

“We believe that a fair and objective review of the evidence — or more precisely the lack of evidence in this case — will show that Mr. Warner did not kill his wife,” his attorney, Mary Chartier, told The Associated Press.

Dale Warner pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and tampering with evidence
Dale Warner pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and tampering with evidence (LENAWEE COUNTY JAIL)

Dee Warner was a mother of five, four of whom are adults and the fifth is under the age of 18. She ran a trucking company and a farming business.

Her brother, Gregg Hardy, said when she disappeared in 2021, it was clear something bad had happened to her.

“It became apparent within a few days after my sister went missing there was obviously some foul play,” he said. “There’s one person who could end all of this. Mr Warner could come forward and end all of this.”

Mr Hardy told WTVG that the arrest is the news his family has been waiting for, but it’s a hard situation because Mr Warner is someone he’s known for most of his life.

“It’s no secret that I’ve known Mr Warner’s family all of my life,” he said. “This is not a pleasant situation for me or my family.”

But added that he just wants the person responsible to be held accountable.

“You don’t ever replace anyone. Justice is what this has been about,” he said. “This isn’t about somebody against somebody. This is about right and wrong, this is about accountability. If we don’t have accountability in this society, then we don’t have society.”

Dee Warner was a mother of five and ran a trucking company and a farming business
Dee Warner was a mother of five and ran a trucking company and a farming business (Michigan State Police)

Lenawee County Sheriff Troy Bevier told Dateline last year that there had been a business dispute on the night she disappeared between her, Mr Warner and one or two of their employees.

However, Michigan State police have not revealed a possible motive or given details about evidence that helped identify Mr Warner as a suspect.

Officials have said only that investigators had “pieced together a very difficult case” with “unique challenges” because Dee’s body has not been found.

“We will continue our efforts to bring closure to the family and to find Dee Warner’s remains so that her family can lay her to rest,” said Capt. Steve O’Neill, a state police commander.

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