Dale Warner was arraigned today in Lenawee County 2A District Court on charges of murdering his wife, Dee Ann Warner, and tampering with evidence. Dale was in the courtroom via Zoom and co-defended by Shawn Head and Mary Chartier-Mittendorf. His attorneys asked for Dale to be released with an electric monitoring device, claiming he is not a flight risk. The request was denied by Judge Schaedler.
Dale’s bond is set at 20 million dollars. The bond hearing is scheduled for Monday, November 27, 2023, at 11:00 AM.
To date, Dee’s remains have not been found. Lenawee County has never successfully prosecuted a no body homicide case.
“Working a no body homicide brings on unique challenges. The detectives on this case have done a phenomenal job with the investigation, and working collaboratively with the Lenawee County Prosecutor,” said Detective First Lieutenant Michael Dillon of Michigan State Police in a press release this afternoon. “I have the utmost confidence in this case moving forward.”
Yesterday afternoon, Dale was arrested in his home. This came two and a half years after Dee was reported missing on April 21, 2021 — the day after Dee planned on telling Dale she wanted a divorce.
Last night at a press conference, Billy Little, Jr., nationally recognized investigative attorney, who has been working on Dee’s case pro bono since March 2022, said, “She [Dee] knew the battle was going to be so difficult she sent her child away to have that discussion about divorce with a man who has a history of domestic violence, a history of stalking, and the next morning she’s gone. There were two people in the house out here in a rural community and you wake up and there’s only one left in the house. On its face, it’s pretty obvious, but obviously you have to add information to that to tell the story, but that’s a pretty strong piece of evidence.”
Early in Little’s investigation, once he concluded Dale was responsible, Little assumed it was a crime of passion or manslaughter. “But over time,” Little said, “I realized no, this was driven by finances and ego and hatred for her. So, the money ultimately played a big role in it, and I think that was the largest part of the reason why he killed her. That wasn’t obvious to me upfront. It took a while to figure out the real motive.”
When asked to encapsulate Dee’s case, Little said, “It was a tumultuous relationship. It turned into something more of a business partnership, and not a very happy one at that. Dee was running a company that was making money, and that was the trucking business, and the farm was not making money, and so Dale would have to siphon money off. If he got divorced from her, he’s not going to have the cash cow which was the trucking business. So, he had to get rid of her — in his mind, right? It was a financial transaction in his mind and probably with some emotion too. You’ve been with somebody for a long time. You’ve already put hands on her, right? So, he didn’t like her very much and he wanted the money. The greed got to him.”
Dee’s family reaction to Dale’s arrest is a mixed bag of emotions. For two and a half years they have tirelessly demanded justice. While having Dale in jail is satisfying, it doesn’t bring Dee back. “This has been a very difficult road for us to get where we’re at, and unfortunately, we have a long way to go yet,” Gregg Hardy, Dee’s brother, said after court today.
Dale Warner is not only Gregg Hardy’s brother-in-law, but they are also neighbors. “This is not a pleasant situation for me or anyone in our family because we’ve known these people all of our lives,” Gregg said. “It became apparent within a few days after my sister went missing that there was obviously some foul play.”