As the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of Dee Ann Warner approaches, her family still seeks justice. The 52-year-old Tecumseh, Michigan resident has been missing since April 25, 2021. Dee, a hard-working business woman, lived on a farm close enough to the neighboring farm to see where she was born and raised.
In the wake of her disappearance, four adult children and a 10-year-old daughter are left without a mother. Her brother, Gregg Hardy, made a statement announcing he and Dee’s adult children are offering a $50,000 cash reward for the location of Dee Ann Warner’s remains. You can find his full statement here.
Parker Hardy, Dee’s nephew, granted me an interview and described his aunt as having a very strong personality and very independent. “Some people didn’t agree with her personality, but she was very caring. If there was anyone in need, she was the first to raise her hand and help. That’s just the way she was,” Hardy said.
The night before Dee went missing, she sent her daughter to stay overnight with a friend. She told several family members she wanted to end her marriage with Dale Warner and was going to confront him that evening. “She wanted to move on for some time but was always afraid to start over. It’s hard to move on at 52 years old and she’d already done it once when she got divorced from her first husband. I think she was scared to do it all over again,” Hardy said.
At the time, Dee’s youngest child was only nine years old. “That was the real, main reason she was holding on,” Hardy said. Dee had one sibling, Gregg, who was 19 years older, and her parents passed many years ago. “I think she always wanted a big family. She had five kids and was very close to them. And she just absolutely adored her grandkids,” Hardy said.
On the morning of April 25, 2021, Dee’s daughter and her family went to Dee’s house for their usual Sunday breakfast. No one was home, so they assumed Dee was in the office — a building right next to the house. But Dee wasn’t in the office, and both her vehicles were there. That’s when they started making phone calls. “Then they called my mom,” Hardy said. “That’d be the person Dee would normally reach out to if she was in trouble or having a bad day, but we hadn’t heard from her. That’s when everyone started getting alarmed.”
Dee’s son, Zack, went to the office and tried to rewind the security cameras. He also looked through her desk to see if she had taken any of the cash she kept in a file cabinet under her desk. The money was there. “She and Zack were the only ones who knew about the cash she kept there. Like I said, it was a troubled relationship,” Hardy said.
According to Hardy, it was about this time Dale came out of his office claiming to have found her huge, valuable diamond ring on his desk. Hardy is adament Dee wouldn’t put the ring there if she had just ran off somewhere. “She would have taken the ring with her and pawned it off. She wouldn’t have left the ring,” Hardy said.
That evening, Dee’s adult children reported her missing. “It was the fact her little girl wasn’t with her that was the biggest alarm,” Hardy said. “Dee wouldn’t have left her behind in a million years.”
The police waited 48 hours and began a search of the property accompanied by Dale Warner. Hardy estimates it was about an hour and a half before the police were asked to leave. They returned hours later with a warrant with cadaver dogs and drones. The search continued late into the evening. “It got very real when the helicopters showed up with big spotlights,” Hardy said.
The Warners farm thousands of acres which complicated matters and the police found no evidence of Dee. Almost six months later, FBI agents searched the area with high-tech ground sonar technology. Again, there was no sign of Dee.
On March 9, 2022, the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Office announced the formation of a Task Force with the Michigan State Police and the FBI dedicated to investigating the disappearance of Dee Warner.
Hardy is overwhelmed by the support the community has given Dee’s family. He asks for people to keep her spirit alive, keep the Justice for Dee rally rolling, and to keep sending prayers. “It’s amazing how big people’s hearts are,” Hardy said.
A sunset vigil is planned to mark the one-year anniversary since Dee went missing on Saturday, April 23, 2022 at 6:30 hosted by Parker Hardy at Hardy Farm’s Event Center located at 10101 Wisner Hwy., Tipton, Michigan.
If you have any information about this case, please contact Detective Greca at (517) 265–5364.