An Indiana man is accused of killing his wife after police discovered her body dumped in a creek over the weekend.
Investigators with the law enforcement agency allege that Mr. Wilhoite struck his estranged wife with a blunt object during a domestic dispute, loaded her into his truck, and then dumped her body in a creek on their property.
Court records show that the victim had been seeking a divorce from her husband at the time of her death. On March 17, Mrs. Wilhoite submitted a petition for legal separation with children in Boone County Circuit Court.
The Boone County Sheriff’s Office headed up the initial investigation after a co-worker at Indiana Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery reported Mrs. Wilhoite missing on Friday morning when she failed to show up for work.
Deputies responded to the Wilhoite’s home a short time later to conduct a welfare check and search the property, according to the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.
According to deputies, Mr. Wilhoite and one of the couple’s three children were home at the time.
“An exhaustive search of the area with K-9 bloodhounds and deputies continued for several hours, and we were not able to locate Nikki,” stated Deputy Wesley Garst. “The investigation eventually evolved into a possible homicide investigation.”
Unable to find Mrs. Wilhoite, the Boone County Sheriff’s Office soon recused themselves from the investigation and called in the Indiana State Police.
“When our investigators realized this could be a possible homicide investigation, we wanted to discuss the best way to move forward with the investigation since the mother of Andrew Wilhoite is a County Councilwoman, another county elected official,” explained Boone County Sheriff Michael Nielsen. “To avoid any conflict of interest, it was decided to contact the Indiana State Police and ask them to lead the investigation, and we would assist them.”
The Boone County website states that members of the council have the “authority to view or review fiscal matters, determine proper policy, and set priorities for the allocation and expenditure of county funds.” That gives Mr. Wilhoite’s mother influence over how county funds are allocated to the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.
According to a news release, Indiana State Police took over the investigation around 6:30 p.m. on Friday.
At 3 a.m. on Saturday, officers discovered the body of Mrs. Wilhoite “partially submerged in approximately three feet of water,” according to Indiana State Police.
Officers immediately arrested Mr. Wilhoite.
“During the course of the investigation, detectives were able to determine that during the course of a domestic dispute, 39-year-old Andrew N. Wilhoite, Elizabeth’s husband, had allegedly struck her in the head with a blunt object causing her to lose consciousness,” said Indiana State Police Captain Ron Galaviz. “He then placed her into a vehicle and drove to a nearby creek where he dumped her body.”
Officers did not say when the alleged incident occurred or if any of the couple’s three children were home when their father allegedly murdered their mother.
According to inmate records, the suspect was booked into Boone County Jail at 3:56 a.m. on Saturday.
The Boone County Sheriff’s Office announced over the weekend that the suspect is being held without bond and will make his first court appearance later this week.
He has not yet been formally charged with murder.
The Boone County Coroner’s Office determined Mrs. Wilhoite’s death to be a homicide, a spokesperson told Law&Crime. Her cause of death is still pending as of Monday morning.
The Boone County Sheriff’s Office and Indiana State Police declined to comment further on the case, noting that the investigation is still ongoing.
Social media posts reveal that Mrs. Wilhoite started chemotherapy in December of last year.
Mrs. Wilhoite shared a quote by author Emma Grace in a Facebook post just days before her death.
“You deserve a life that doesn’t hurt,” it read.
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