’20/20: Missing or Murdered’ chronicles Shelby Wilkie’s disappearance from her Hendersonville, North Carolina, home in January 2012. After a long and exhausting investigation, authorities built a case against her husband, Michael, who was subsequently convicted. However, at the time of her disappearance, the couple were parents to 3-months-old Sydney. It was heartbreaking how the small child lost both her parents at a tender age. Let’s find out where Sydney Wilkie is today, shall we?
Who Is Sydney Wilkie?
Sydney Wilkie was born just months before her mother Shelby’s disappearance. According to the show, several witnesses claimed that Shelby suffered regular domestic abuse at Michael’s hands, and the police had to intervene several times because of complaints. The abuse did not stop even after she got pregnant with Sydney, and as per the show, Shelby faced physical violence even while expecting, which put her health at risk. Subsequently, her family also mentioned that Shelby had planned to take Sydney and leave her husband for good.
When Shelby was reported missing on January 2, 2012, Sydney Wilkie was just 3-months-old. She was left behind with her father, which family members claimed Shelby would never do. Moreover, the police began suspecting foul play when they realized that Shelby had left her only daughter, who meant the world to her. Once authorities began investigating, they found loopholes in Michael’s statement, where he claimed his wife left for work and never returned. Furthermore, the domestic violence aspect became more apparent when Michael’s ex-wife accused him of being physically and verbally abusive.
Nudged by Michael’s failed polygraph test, authorities carried out a search of his house to find traces of blood that had pooled up previously and even discovered the silhouette of what seemed like a deceased body. Thus, Michael was brought in for questioning. Another search of his parents’ house revealed a pile of ash and bone fragments along with Shelby’s bracelet. Although Michael kept insisting that his wife died by suicide and he had only helped cremate her, he was arrested and charged with murder. Once in court, he even pleaded not guilty but was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Where Is Sydney Wilkie Now?
Sydney Anne Wilkie was present in the next room while her mother was being killed and even had to stay with Michael for quite a few days. However, Shelby’s family heaved a sigh of relief when they were finally able to take the adorable little girl in. Moreover, in 2012, Shelby’s family announced they were setting up a fund for Sydney to offer her support in her younger years and ultimately contribute to her college education. Anyone willing and able to help was given an opportunity to donate to the fund.
In early 2015, after Michael Wilkie was found guilty of first-degree murder, Shelby’s brother, Bill Sprowls, Jr., started proceedings to adopt Sydney. Michael vehemently protested against the adoption, but Shelby’s family remained adamant in their efforts to keep Michael out of Sydney’s life. At present, Sydney is 9-years-old, and although the final verdict of her adoption is unknown, she is adored by her mother’s family and still seems to be living with Bill and his wife, Stacie Sprowls.
Talking about the adorable child and how much she means to her family, Shelby’s mother said, “Shelby referred to her as her angel, and we all feel she really is a little angel because she’s kept our family together and given us reason to smile.”