NBC Dateline’s ‘Return to the Early Shift’ takes the viewers through the aftermath of the murder of 42-year-old Michelle Mockbee in Florence, Kentucky, in May. The episode shows how Michelle’s family is coping with the tragedy, and how they are fighting every day with the people still doubting the conviction of the perpetrator. So, who are Michelle’s siblings, and where are they now? Let’s find out.
Who Are Michelle Mockbee’s Siblings?
Michelle Ann Whalen Mockbee was born to Patricia Harlow Whalen and John Whalen on August 8, 1969, in Covington in Kenton County, Kentucky. She grew up with two sisters, Jennifer Schneider Ernst and Cynthia Whalen, and a brother named Christopher Whalen. Jennifer reminisced about Michelle on the show, saying, “She was just the kindest soul you could ever imagine. She went out of her way to make people feel comfortable, to befriend people.”
To highlight her sister’s kindness toward strangers, Jennifer recounted a story regarding how she had helped a mother who was new to the district where Michelle’s daughters went to school. The woman was feeling out of place, and the kind-hearted Michelle tried her best to help her incorporate into her new surroundings. Jennifer recalled, “Michelle went out of her way to befriend this woman, to be kind, that’s just the way she was. She had such a big impact, this woman did a video about how Michelle affected her life. It was so heartwarming to watch that.”
Michelle was 42 years old and working at the Thermo Fisher Scientific plant in Boone County. She was murdered by David Dooley in the early-morning hours of May 29, 2012. David worked as a contractor and performed janitorial services at the plant. A homicide investigation went underway, probing the murder of the mother of two, and David was convicted on first-degree murder charges and sentenced to life in prison in 2014.
As Michelle’s family thought the tragic and painful chapter of their life had finally come to a close, they could not be more wrong. The presiding judge overturned the verdict after finding out significant evidence was allegedly withheld by the authorities from David’s defense counsel. Believing the evidence might have helped the defense build a firmer front, the judge ordered a new trial in May 2017. Following a series of delays, the trial finally underwent in February 2019.
David’s new defense attorneys tried to dismiss the case against their attorneys by providing alternate theories to the jury and even claiming Michelle’s husband, Carl D. “Dan” Mockbee, had the opportunity to kill his spouse. According to court documents, Dan had received a significant sum of money from several insurance policies following his wife’s death and spent a considerable portion of it that he could not account for in court. The defense counsel tried to portray Dan’s carelessness as a possible motive behind the murder.
Where Are Michelle Mockbee’s Siblings Today?
Jennifer defended his brother-in-law, stating, “Dan is horrible with money. He’s just not good at it, and he knows he’s not good at it. They tried to show reasonable doubt, and thank God the jury saw right through that and that Dooley is guilty.” David was again convicted and sentenced to 43 years in prison. Michelle’s siblings welcomed the verdict on the episode and praised the prosecution and the investigators for their hard work.
They also revealed the main reason behind them doing such interviews was to convince “naysayers” that David was guilty. Jennifer said, “Our hope is always when we agree to do these interviews, that it’s portrayed to show the facts and hopefully the naysayers out there after viewing it will realize the guy really is guilty.” She further added, “We’re still missing Michelle just like the day it happened. It’s very frustrating that the focus turned to the man that was accused and not the victim.”
The siblings revealed that ever since Michelle was murdered at the end of a Memorial Day Holiday weekend, the family dreaded that particular holiday. However, they have slowly learned to live with it. Jennifer said, “Cindy brought up a good point, that Memorial Day was her (Michelle’s) last holiday with us, and we should kind of embrace that and celebrate her life. So she kind of made me look at it differently.”
The siblings ended the episode on a positive note – “We’re a strong family, and we’ve gotten even closer because of this. I think that Michelle would really be happy with the way we’ve all come together and are supporting each other throughout all of this.” Jennifer lives with her husband, Eric Schneider, in Hebron, Kentucky, and Cynthia resides in Amelia, Ohio, with her husband, Mike Whalen. Christopher lives with his wife, Cynthia Whalen, in Union, Kentucky.
Read More: Michelle Mockbee Murder: Where is David Dooley Now?