Last night, Disappeared, a missing persons TV series on the Investigation Discovery channel profiled the disappearance of Dee Ann Warner of Tecumseh, Michigan. It was a riveting hour encapsulating events surrounding the mystery of what happened to the 52-year-old mother of 5 and grandmother of six. The episode, “Vanished in the Heartland” relied on interviews with those close to Dee to tell her story.
Dale and Dee’s relationship began with an affair while they were married to other partners. “It raised a lot of eyebrows,” Gregg Hardy, Dee’s brother, said, “particularly because you wouldn’t match them. I mean, she had a dynamic personality that was outgoing and vivacious. He had more of an introvert personality. So, they were dynamically polar opposites.”
Many wondered what the attraction was between a woman who dressed impeccably and was always put together and a man whose style of dress heavily relied on work shirts, jeans, and work boots, Rikkell Bock, Dee’s youngest adult daughter, said, “Their way of meshing was business. I think that’s what drove them together. They had the same dreams, the same goals, and they could accomplish them together.”
Dale and Dee married in 2008, but it was a volatile relationship. Rikkell recalled many times when she was growing up the two would argue. She and her mother would leave and go to a hotel or her uncle’s house for a few days. They’d return and things would blow over. “Until the next fight,” Rikkell said.
Dale had a farming business and Dee had a trucking business. The duo became very successful, but prosperity couldn’t solve underlying problems in the relationship.
Amy Alexander, Dee’s friend of 12 years, said, “She would often talk to me about divorcing Dale or leaving Dale.”
Billy Little, Jr., a nationally recognized investigative attorney working for Dee’s family pro bono, has been working tirelessly since March 2022 to solve Dee’s case. He learned Dale used to hide his iPad in the office he and Dee shared and record her conversations. At one point, Dee discovered a tracking device on her car. “This is an element of control. This is an element of abuse. This is an element of stalking,” Little said.
Dale Warner’s attorney, Larry Leib downplayed the tracking device. “That tracker was only for security purposes. It was sort of suggested Dale was following her. That’s not true. That tracker was only for the purpose of if the car was stolen. In a small town, you never know.”
Billy Little, Jr. said dryly, “I don’t find that this particular county is a hotbed for stolen cars.” Little also wondered why Dale didn’t have trackers on any of their other vehicles and why, if it was an anti-theft device, wouldn’t Dale have told Dee about it.
Both Rikkell Bock and Amy Alexander stated Dale would show up at dinners and parties Dee attended unannounced. “It was eerily odd,” Amy said.
Eventually, Dee had enough. On Saturday, April 24, 2021, Dee told her friends and adult children she was leaving Dale and wanted to sell the businesses. Dee planned to confront Dale that night. In order to shield their nine-year-old daughter, Angelina, Amy Alexander offered to pick Angelina up and take her to her house overnight.
When Amy arrived at the Warner residence at 7:42 PM, Dale pulled into the drive. “When she saw him, she acted afraid, like she wanted to run from the door. I’ve seen Dee upset many times, but this was on a whole different level of being upset,” Amy said.
“She never expressed anything to me about being scared of him until the day before she went missing,” Rikkell said. Dee told her, “I watch Dateline, like, every night. He could do something like that to me.”
On Sunday, April 25, 2021, Rikkell and her family went to the Warner residence for their usual Sunday breakfast. Dee wasn’t there. When Rikkell called her mom, it went straight to voicemail. Strange, because Dee never turned her phone off. “I knew if she wasn’t going to be there, she would have told me, so that was a huge red flag,” Rikkell said.
Dale called Rikkell a few hours later and asked if she knew where Dee was. He said, “Well, she’s mad at me again.”
“I just had a really strange feeling, “Rikkell said. Her brother came over and checked the security cameras inside the office and around the exterior of the house and office. Dee was not seen coming or going.
Dee’s adult children called the police around 5 or 6 PM to report Dee missing. When law enforcement came, they did a search of the property, which was time consuming as the Warners own thousands of acres of farmland. After a couple hours, Dale asked them to leave and not come back unless they had a warrant. Dale wanted to go back to work.
Troy Bevier, Lenawee County Sherriff explained, “We have a lot of farmers in Lenawee County. There’s a lot of farmers that when it’s time to farm, it’s time to farm. Even if someone is missing. Whether that’s right or wrong.”
It took hours to get a warrant signed by a judge and return to the property. By then it was dark, making the search more difficult. “It was just frustrating and horribly painful for the family,” Gregg Hardy said.
Dale claimed to have found Dee’s $50,000 wedding ring on his desk that day, proof Dee had left him on her own accord.
“The odds of her leaving him a wedding ring that was sizable is flat zero,” Gregg said.
Since Dee vanished, there has been no activity on her cell phone, bank account, or credit cards. No one has had contact with her. Those close to Dee insist she did not take off to Jamaica or Mexico as Dale claims. Especially not without her daughter.
“Her kids and her grandkids meant everything to her,” Rikkell said.
“She didn’t have the capability to leave Angelina or she does not have the capability to put anybody else through this hurt. There’s no way possible she would hurt any of us this bad. She didn’t have it in her,” Amy said.
“My sister, respectfully, she was high maintenance, okay? So, her lifestyle wasn’t going to, you know, live in the woods in some tent. So, she would have had to have money, and had to have a lot of it,” Gregg said.
They also noted Dale has done nothing to help them find Dee.
Larry Leib, the attorney Dale hired a mere 2 or 3 days after Dee disappeared, said, “Dale wants to believe she is still alive. He’s constantly telling Angelina ‘Mommy’s on a break and she’ll come back.’”
Billy Little, Jr., after conducting hundreds of hours or interviews and sifting through thousands of pages of documents, said, “There is a lot about Dale’s behavior that’s bizarre.” He cites the fact Dale used a forged power of attorney to steal a million dollars from Dee’s trucking business and put it under a new trucking business Dale started. “How can you possibly transfer assets when you don’t own them?” Little said. He also wonders why Dale went to extraordinary lengths to keep tabs on Dee before she went missing and now seems unconcerned.
Little isn’t buying Dale’s alibi that he gave Dee a massage on the living room floor after their argument, lifted her to the couch, and went to bed. Dale claims he saw Dee on the couch, snoring, when he left for work the next morning at 6 AM.
“I know where he was. I know what he was doing. Dale was absolutely not at home sleeping,” Little said. Instead, Little has a witness that puts Dale at his father’s farm at 3:55 AM. The witness said Dale was in the office getting the keys for the chemical and equipment barn.
“In my opinion, Dale went to his father’s farm to try to dispose of Dee’s body,” Little said.
“I 100% think that Dale is responsible for what happened to my mom,” Rikkell said.
“There will be closure for the family, I guarantee it. I will not be gone until there is closure.” Little vowed. “I know what happened and I know justice is coming.”
If you have any information on what happened to Dee Ann Warner, please call 1–855-MICHTIP.
If you watched Disappeared “Vanished in the Heartland, I’d love to hear your reaction in the comments.