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An Indiana farmer is accused of killing his wife just days after she filed for separation.
Nikki Wilhoite, 41, was reported missing by her co-workers on Friday morning after she didn’t show up at her job at an oral surgeon's office, the Boone County Sheriff’s Office stated in a press release.
Investigators searched her home in rural Lebanon with K-9 bloodhounds and deputies for several hours shortly after the pre-10:00 a.m. phone call from Nikki's coworkers. Soon, the investigation “evolved into a possible homicide investigation” and the sheriff’s department contacted the state police for help, noting a possible conflict of interest: her husband, Andrew Wilhoite, 39, is the son of a county councilwoman.
According to court documents obtained by Indianapolis NBC affiliate WTHR, Andrew Wilhoite first told investigators that the couple had fought on Thursday night, he'd slept on the sofa and hadn't seen his wife before she left for work. Police, however, found Nikki's purse, phone and vehicle at the couple's farm, and then found traces of blood in the couple's bedroom.
Andrew Wilhoite allegedly claimed he'd had a bloody nose.
After being called in around 6:30 p.m. on Friday evening, the Indiana State Police determined that Wilhoite’s 39-year-old husband Andrew N. Wilhoite “had allegedly struck her in the head with a blunt object causing her to lose consciousness” during “ a domestic dispute,” according to a press release from their department.
WTHR reports that the court documents say that, after asking for an attorney, Andrew Wilhoite changed his initial story and allegedly told police that the couple had been fighting outside the house when Nikki "charged" at him and he hit her with a flower pot. He then allegedly said he loaded her body in his pickup truck and dumped it over a bridge several miles away.
The couple, Andrew Wilhoite allegedly said, was fighting over an affair that Andrew was having when he became violent.
Around 3:00 a.m. on Saturday, police found Nikki’s body “partially submerged in approximately three feet of water.” Court documents in the case say the coroner ruled that she died from a blow to the head.
Andrew has been booked on a felony murder charge. It’s not clear if he has a lawyer.
Nikki had submitted a petition for legal separation with children in Boone County Circuit Court just days earlier, on March 17, Law&Crime reported. The couple reportedly had three children together. Friends told WTHR that she'd just finished her final breast cancer treatment and was finally leaving a relationship they termed a "danger" for a long time.
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