June marks two years since Evansville woman’s disappearance

Family: First detective on case revealed suspicions of murder
June marks two years since Evansville woman’s disappearance
Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 7:24 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Dawnita Wilkerson’s family says she stopped answering her cell phone on June 20, 2020.

They reported her missing the very next day.

Her kids say they knew something was wrong.

Her daughter Kiara Whitledge was the one who first called the police to report her missing.

As the second anniversary of her disappearance arrives, Whitledge and her siblings are reminded, as they are each and every day, of the six children she left behind.

“Honestly, it feels like we’ve been living the same day, over and over since it happened,” says Whitledge, “Like, there’s no ending to it is what it feels like.”

Not only is their mother missing, but the family recently experienced even more loss.

“It’s really hard because we just lost our brother in February,” says Whitledge.

Even still, Whitledge says they move forward, hoping that information from somewhere will lead to their mother’s reappearance.

There are still fliers hung up in the Tri-State from the original search party when Wilkerson first went missing.

Whitledge says they had to do a lot of the searching on their own, including putting up the fliers, without a ton of help from police.

“They actually sent us a map to go look ourselves,” says Whitledge, “So, like, just certain areas to go look, and I just, I don’t understand why they weren’t the ones looking.”

There have now been three separate detectives spearheading Wilkerson’s case, with a new detective recently taking the reigns.

While her family is hopeful that a fresh set of eyes could break open the case, Whitledge knows that their worst fears could very well come true also.

That’s a sentiment they say is shared by the first detective on the case.

“He did tell us that he did not believe my mom was alive and that she was murdered,” says Whitledge, “So the only thing that we can hope for is that somebody does come forward and tell the truth.”

The detective sent one of the family members an email, saying in part:

“I do not believe that Dawnita is alive. I believe she was murdered...”

That was in December of 2020.

Whitledge says the family is hurting right now, just like they have been each day since their mom disappeared, but they’ve continued to find solace in one another.

“I hope that she’s with my brother at least,” says Whitledge.

The family is hoping that the increased attention to the case as the anniversary arrives could help reignite public interest in it.

“Crime Junkie” did an entire episode on the case, which you can find here.

Evansville Police say the investigation is still ongoing and active, and they’re still following any leads and tips.

If you have any tips regarding the disappearance of Dawnita Wilkerson, you can reach out anonymously at (812)-435-6194.

You can find the website for the Evansville Police Department here.

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