Michigan State Police crews scoured many areas of Lenawee County today armed with search warrants looking for the remains or evidence surrounding the case of missing mom and grandmother, Dee Ann Warner. Their searches were directed at parts of the estimated 4,000 acres Dee’s husband, Dale Warner, either owns or leases to farm.
Officer T. J. Barnes of the Michigan State Police could not comment on the case but he and a team of at least 6 people were searching through a field off Pentecost Highway. “We have about 10 different crews out here today in various areas,” Barnes said.
On M-50, police and canine units were searching another field and the ditch near a culvert. A machine using ground penetrating sonar was being used. Detective Long, Michigan State Police, said, “We have a handful of search warrants. We will probably be here for the next several days.”
In other areas, boats and 4-wheelers were used in the search.
Dee Ann Warner, 52, was reported missing from her rural Tecumseh, Michigan home two years ago on April 25, 2021. Her four adult children and extended family members believe her husband is responsible for her disappearance.
Dee’s brother, Gregg Hardy, was notified this morning at 8:49 that search warrants had been issued. “There is a spot in particular that I’ve been very suspicious of for many reasons.” He is referring to an area where there was a 25-foot hole dug to burn trunks of trees and other debris after Dale cleared an area of woods shortly after Dee’s disappearance. “I don’t think sonar equipment is effective at that depth. I know that land very well. It is clay and heavily compacted. It would need to be dug out. It’s certainly a site that deserves serious evaluation.”
While Mr. Hardy is pleased to see effort from Michigan State Police, he said, “My largest concern is this will be another emotional let-down for the family.”
After two years, Dee’s family does not believe she is alive. Mr. Hardy doesn’t think finding his sister’s remains is integral to solving the case. He wants authorities to act on the mountain of evidence they already have. “It’s the evidence around the case that will lead to a conviction. Even if her body was found buried in her front yard, Mr. Warner could say somebody else did it. With him being her husband, forensic evidence finding his DNA would not necessarily be beneficial. At this point, with all the evidence collected by Billy Little, it’s not rocket science.”
Billy Little, Jr. is a nationally recognized investigative attorney who began investigation Dee’s disappearance in March 2022. He is working the case pro bono. Little has interviewed over 100 people and has analyzed the case from every angle and continues to provide his findings to authorities. “All I am after is the truth — no matter where that leads,” Little said. He is confident there is enough proof to convict Dale Warner.
Lt. Gonzalez, spokesperson for Michigan State Police told me the extensive search effort is not due to a new lead or tip. “This is just part of the investigation that the detectives from the Special Investigation Unit are following up on.”
To the community of concerned citizens wanting justice for Dee, Gonzalez said, “It’s evident from the number of troopers out there conducting a search today that we have not forgotten her. This case is still an active investigation.”
I asked if Dale Warner is a suspect or person of interest. Gonzalez said, “Not that I am aware of.”