Dale Warner, the husband of missing Dee Ann Warner has been released from Lenawee County Jail. Dale was sentenced to 93 days on September 14, 2023, for criminal contempt of court. He served slightly less than half of his sentence.
Numerous calls to Lenawee County Jail and Lenawee County Courthouse were not returned. Those who did return my calls were unable to indicate why Dale did not have to serve his full sentence.
On October 10, 2023, Dale’s new attorney, Shawn Head, filed an emergency motion for the sentencing to be reconsidered and to set aside conviction and/or amend the sentence. The motion stated Dale’s constitutional rights were violated in the criminal contempt proceedings because he didn’t have effective assistance of counsel.
It is unknown whether this motion request contributed to Dale’s early release.
A deputy from the Lenawee County Jail who asked to stay anonymous could not comment on Dale’s case specifically but offered a couple of possible scenarios. “An inmate can be released early for good behavior. Also, depending on the circumstances, an inmate can pay a fee to get out early,” the deputy said.
Paying to get out of jail sounds like inmates can play Monopoly, but this is no game to the family of Dee Ann Warner who was reported missing from her Tecumseh, Michigan farmhouse on April 25, 2021. Dale Warner was the last person to see her. Dee’s four adult children, her extended family, and friends have been outspoken about their belief Dale is responsible for Dee’s disappearance.
Those close to Dee were shocked and concerned when they learned Dale was no longer behind bars. Dee’s family nor the attorneys representing her estate were notified Dale would be walking free.
“I’m disappointed with the lack of transparency,” Gregg Hardy, Dee’s brother said. “Something is drastically wrong.”
The night before Dee disappeared, she planned to confront Dale. Dee wanted a divorce and to sell their various businesses. She arranged for their nine-year-old daughter to spend the night at her friend’s house to shield her from what was bound to be a heated argument.
The next morning, Dale went out to work on their farm and claimed to have seen Dee snoring on the couch. He admitted they argued, but claimed the evening ended with him giving her a massage. When she fell asleep, he lifted her to the couch and went to bed.
About 3 hours after Dale allegedly saw Dee, she was gone. Her vehicles remained on the property. Her Apple watch and phone died sometime during the night. Bank cards were idle. Security cameras around the house and onsite office did not detect her leaving. Dale and Dee’s home is situated on a dirt road — far from access to public transportation.
Dale told Dee’s adult children that she must have left him. As proof, he produced her large, diamond wedding ring from his pocket. None of Dee’s four adult children believe their mother left willingly, nor do they believe Dee would ever leave their little sister behind.
Last fall, Dee’s adult children filed a petition to have their mother declared dead. Several witnesses, which included friends, family members, and professionals, testified there was no evidence whatsoever that Dee is still alive. Sgt. Detective Drewyor of the Michigan State Police testified Dee was dead and named Dale as the primary suspect.
Judge Sala heard the closing arguments on September 14, 2023, and is expected to make her decision soon. If she declares Dee Ann Warner dead, Dee’s family plans to file a wrongful death suit against Dale Warner.
Do you think a murder suspect should be released early from a different charge? Or do you think Dale should be given the benefit of the doubt? I’d love to read your opinions in the comments!