In April 2021, a beloved mother and grandmother seemingly vanished from her home in Franklin Township, Michigan. Dee Ann Warner’s sudden disappearance meant that loved ones searched far and wide for her with little success. The latest episode of NBC News’ ‘Dateline: Missing in America’ podcast delves into the circumstances surrounding Dee going missing and the ensuing investigation. So, if you’re curious to know more, we’ve got you covered.
What Happened to Dee Ann Warner?
Dee Ann Warner grew up in Michigan and is described as an outgoing personality. She had no trouble making friends and would get along well with everyone. She had four children from her first marriage before getting together with Dale Warner. The two married in 2006 and then had a daughter, Angelina, who was 9-years-old when the incident occurred. Dee was an astute businesswoman and owned a successful trucking company.
At around 9 am on April 25, 2021, one of Dee’s daughters, Rikkell Bock, stopped by for a weekly breakfast with her family at Dee’s home. At the time, the 52-year-old wasn’t at home. But Rikkell continued to make breakfast, assuming her mother was at the office on the same property. However, Dee was nowhere to be seen. Calls to her phone went straight to voicemail, and it seemed like nobody had heard from her. That very day, the family reported Dee missing.
Is Dee Ann Warner Dead or Alive?
When Rikkell arrived at Dee’s house, she couldn’t find Dale and Angelina either. A few hours into the search, he called Rikkell, asking about her mom’s whereabouts. At the time, Angelina was at a family friend’s place, which bothered Rikkell. Her mother didn’t go anywhere without her young daughter. When Dee’s brother, Gregg Hardy, spoke to Dale, he heard a surprising story. According to Dale, Dee left home with her purse, phone, travel bag, and curling iron, but that seemed unusual for her to do.
Now, the authorities looked into Dale’s relationship with Dee. The couple had been married for more than a decade, but according to Rikkell, they often fought about the business they ran from home. A private investigator, Billy Little, later learned that Dee’s trucking company had financed about $1 million in losses for Dale’s agricultural business. Rikkell stated that in a conversation before Dee disappeared, the loving grandmother talked about leaving Dale and was sure about divorcing him.
When questioned, Dale provided inconsistent statements to the police. Initially, he claimed that the two had a terrible fight on the night of April 24. But later, Dale asserted that it was just a disagreement, after which he gave her a massage on the living room floor. He stated that Dee had fallen asleep, and he then carried her to the couch. Dale claimed to have seen her at around 6:00 am when he left home. The authorities had learned that Dee argued with Dale and some of her employees the evening before her disappearance.
According to Billy, when Dale was asked where his wife might be, he talked about her being in Jamaica or Mexico. Dale stated that she might have run away with another man with more money. However, there was no evidence of Dee leaving. Surveillance cameras on the property didn’t provide any clues, and there was no activity on her bank or signs that she had left the country. Despite an extensive search of the property, all the authorities found were Dee’s keys.
Billy believed that Dale killed his wife during a domestic dispute and hid her body. The police haven’t yet named him a suspect but have maintained that Dale was a person of interest. According to Billy, Dale had physically abused her in the past, and his story of what happened didn’t add up. Furthermore, Dale was reportedly seen near his father’s house between 3 am and 4:30 am on April 25. He was collecting digging equipment and a chemical that led to his fingerprints getting burned off.
Billy also mentioned that a month ahead of Dee’s vanishing, Dale talked to some others about killing his wife. As per him, Dale said, “They’ll never find her body. Karma, she got what she had coming.” Billy also found out that the lights were on at Dee’s home from 10:30 pm on April 24 to 3 am on April 25. The last text that went out of Dee’s phone was around 10:52 pm, with her phone and watch going offline at about 2:30 am on April 25.
For now, the authorities have maintained that the case is active, and recently, the Michigan State Police took over the investigation. While the family isn’t sure if Dee is still alive, they have continued to search for her. Rikkell said, “I want somebody to be held responsible. I definitely want to be able to have the closure of her because, at this point, I can’t even explain to my kids where’s Nana because I can’t — I don’t have any proof that she’s 100% gone. So we need that closure for us, and we need it for our kids, and we need it for our little sister — so that we can all move forward and start the grieving process.”
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