Dale Warner was arrested today at his home for the murder of his wife, Dee Ann Warner, who was reported missing on April 25, 2021. The night before, Dee had planned to tell Dale she wanted a divorce.
Dee’s adult children and extended family have been vocal about their belief Dale is responsible not only for her disappearance, but her murder. It has been a heart wrenching two and a half years for Dee’s loved ones as they rallied and pleaded for authorities to make an arrest.
In March 2022, Billy Little, Jr., nationally recognized investigative attorney took on the case pro bono. “All I’m after is the truth, no matter where that leads. This family deserves answers,” Little told me in a previous interview. In a press conference in May 2022, Little said, “We know what happened. We know who did it.”
Little turned over his evidence to Lenawee County Sheriff’s Office, convinced there was, “overwhelming evidence for an arrest.”
Today, Little shrugged off any praise for his involvement in the case. “I’m not taking credit for any of this. I’m just thankful it happened,” Little told me.
In August 2022, the case was moved from Lenawee County Sheriff’s Office to Michigan State Police.
Still — there was no arrest. Until today.
“I thank God and I thank the community,” Gregg Hardy told me, shortly after he got the news. “We had a meeting with the prosecutor, Jacqueline Wyse, this morning. Michigan State Police, Dee’s kids, Shelly [his wife] and I were there. They didn’t tell us they were going to arrest him, and if they were going to, we had no idea it would be so soon. I am still trying to process this.”
The arrest came as a surprise considering the petition filed by Dee’s adult children to declare her dead is still awaiting Judge Sala’s ruling. On September 14, 2023, Judge Sala estimated her decision would be made in about a week.
Today is Dale’s third arrest in a short time. On August 9, 2023, Dale was arrested and served 8 days for civil contempt of court for failing to follow court orders to disclose paperwork regarding Dale and Dee’s multiple businesses. On September 14, 2023, he was arrested for criminal contempt of court and was sentenced to 93 days in jail. Afterward, his sentence was reduced significantly and then Lenawee County Jail accidentally released him 8 days early.
“It’s a roller coaster of emotions right now,” said Kathryn Adams, lifelong friend of Dee. “I’m relieved justice is happening, but on the other side, we have to face the truth we’ve known all along is true — she’s gone. I literally fell to the ground when I got the call.”
While Dee’s family and friends are grateful the prosecutor finally made a move, it is a bittersweet day. Dale’s arrest doesn’t bring Dee back. Thursday will be their third Thanksgiving without the woman who was famous for her elaborate holiday celebrations. There will not only be an empty space at the table, but an empty space in their hearts.
If you would like background information on Dee’s disappearance, you can start here. Join the Justice for Dee Facebook page for all the latest updates. I’d love to hear your opinion of Dale’s arrest in the comments!