ADRIAN — Michigan State Police has officially taken over the investigation into the disappearance of Dee Warner.
Last week, Lenawee County Sheriff Troy Bevier announced he had asked the state police to become the lead agency in the 16-month-old investigation into what happened to the Tipton woman.
In a news release issued Tuesday afternoon, state police officials said the agency is taking over and asked anyone with information about what happened to Warner to call the MSP tip line at 855-MICHTIP (855-642-4847) or submit their tips online at www.michigan.gov/MICHTIP.
Warner was last seen April 24, 2021, at her home in Franklin Township. The sheriff's office was the lead investigative agency with assistance from the state police and FBI. The three agencies formally created a task force in March to better share resources.
Since Warner disappeared, law enforcement has searched the Warner home and farm business properties, both shortly after her relatives reported her missing and in October. Warner's brother's family also hired a private investigator, attorney Billy Little Jr. of Arizona, after they became unhappy with the sheriff's office's handling of the case.
Little and Warner's brother, Gregg Hardy of Tipton, have made allegations that Warner's husband, Dale Warner, is responsible for Dee's disappearance. Little has said his investigation shows Dale had financial motive involving Dee's trucking business and the family's farm business.
In an update livestreamed July 24 on the YouTube show "The Interview Room" hosted by retired homicide detective Chris McDonough, Little alleged that the sheriff's office's lead detective in the case had a romantic relationship with a first cousin of an employee of Dee's trucking business, who Little considers to be an accomplice.
Bevier declined to comment on that allegation after a rally Aug. 1 at the old Lenawee County Courthouse in Adrian where he announced he had asked the state police to take the lead in the case. Many in attendance sought the transfer of the case to the state police, and Little criticized the sheriff's office's investigation when he addressed the crowd.
According to Little, Dee planned to tell Dale on April 24, 2021, she would be divorcing him and wanted to sell the businesses. One of Dee's friends let the Warners' young daughter spend the night with her because Dee expected a volatile argument between herself and Dale.
The next morning, a Sunday, one of Dee's daughters and granddaughter stopped by the Warners' home at about 9:30 a.m. for breakfast and Dee was not there.
Dale, according to Little, said after they fought that night, Dee laid down on the living room floor and he gave her a massage until she fell asleep, then he moved her to the couch, where she was asleep at 6 a.m. when he left the house to spray fertilizer on the farm fields.
There is no evidence that Dee left the house on her own that morning and no evidence she withdrew large sums of money from her bank accounts or used her passport as if she was going to another country as Dale has suggested, Little has said.
Neither Dale Warner nor his attorney have returned phone calls. The former employee of the trucking business declined to comment when contacted last week by The Daily Telegram.
This article originally appeared on The Daily Telegram: Michigan State Police take over Dee Warner investigation