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An Indiana man is accused of killing his cancer-stricken wife and dumping her body in a creek days after she filed for a divorce.
Elizabeth “Nikki” Wilhoite, 41, was reported missing on March 25 after a co-worker tipped off authorities that she hadn’t shown up for work.
An “exhaustive” search of the woman’s property in Lebanon, Indiana was carried out by county authorities, who scoured barns and the surrounding farm using K-9 bloodhounds. Her car, purse, and phone were found at the property.
Investigators, who made contact with her husband Andrew Wilhoite during the welfare check, found the him driving a blue tractor at the family’s property.
Andrew Wilhoite, who authorities said had visible scratch marks on his neck, told law enforcement the couple “had a pretty good fight” the night before, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com.
The 39-year-old, who told authorities his wife was “drunk,” and possibly on drugs, insisted he’d last seen her shortly before midnight the night before. He said he’d fallen asleep on the couch and left early the next morning to “haul corn.”
Following a search of the couple’s residence, detectives say they discovered a blood-stained mattress, bloody bed sheets, and a pillow, as well as blood on the bathroom sink in the master bedroom.
Under questioning, Andrew Wilhoite allegedly told investigators his wife “came at him,” clawed his head, and beat his back as he laid on a bed at the home before she disappeared. Andrew Wilhoite also asserted his wife typically consumed a large container of rum “every two days after work” and was known to “get angry” when she drinks.
Andrew Wilhoite, however, later allegedly confessed to clobbering his wife in the face with a cement flower pot, and later disposing of her body, after the physical dispute spilled onto the front porch.
“Andrew stated he picked up a cement, gallon-sized flower pot that had dirt in it and struck Elizabeth in the face,” charging documents stated. “Elizabeth fell to the ground and Andrew stated he didn’t know what to do so he took Elizabeth’s body, placed it in his pickup and threw it in a nearby creek that is east of the residence.”
Andrew Wilhoite allegedly said the dispute had been fueled by an affair he’d had with another woman, which had caused his wife to file for divorce against him.
Elizabeth Wilhoite’s body was ultimately located submerged in about three feet of water in a creek a few miles from her family home. An autopsy is currently pending. Her cause and manner of death hasn’t yet been released by the Boone County Coroner.
Andrew Wilhoite was later arrested and charged with his wife's murder.
Andrew Wilhoite’s mother, Marcia C. Wilhoite, is an elected Boone County council member at-large. Local authorities, citing a potential conflict of interest, recused themselves, and have since turned the investigation over to 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,” Sheriff Michael T. Nielsen said in a statement. “This is another prime example of working with our law enforcement partners to solve a horrendous crime. … Please keep all families and first responders in your thoughts and prayers.”
Marcia Wilhoite, as well as a spokesperson for Boone County Council, didn’t respond to Oxygen.com’s questions surrounding county authorities’ investigative recusal in the case on Tuesday.
Elizabeth Wilhoite had filed for divorce on March 17, roughly a week before her death, court records show. Her husband had previously divulged to investigators that his wife had “taken the news” of his extramarital affair “hard,” but had hoped they could reconcile, the probable cause statement alleged. The couple, who have two children together, had been married for 12 years.
Elizabeth Wilhoite, who was a cancer patient, was also undergoing chemotherapy at the time of her death. She’d been vocal about her cancer diagnosis on social media.
“Friday morning my hair really started to fall out due to the chemo treatments, so what do I do before work on Monday morning?” Elizabeth Wilhoite posted in December. “Shave it all off!! No Filter!!”
Approximately a week before Elizabeth Wilhoite vanished, her husband also took to Facebook to applaud his wife for completing her chemotherapy treatments.
“This lady just finished her last round of chemo today… very proud of you,” he wrote.
The slain woman’s social media posts also took on a darker tone in the days and weeks preceding her death.
No further information was released by state police this week. The case is open and ongoing.
Andrew Wilhoite is being held at a Boone County detention facility, according to online jail records His attorney, Mark Inman, wasn’t immediately available for comment when contacted by Oxygen.com on Tuesday afternoon.
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