Michael Wilkie

Going into this one I am unsure if Michael Wilkie is along the lines of your "everyday" spouse killer, if he is a special kind of idiot, or he leans more towards the psychopath who just simply does not care.  I say this because while he started out informing authorities and the media that his wife was missing and attempting to plead for her to return he ratted himself out rather quickly when confronted.  Did he simply not possess the charisma such as people like say Scott Peterson and maintain his own innocence?  Or was he more along the lines of the serial killers who readily confess to crimes because they want the recognition?  I am not sure that if he would have held out that charges would have ever been brought against him.  That would have depended on the prosecutor and what they thought they could prove but I can almost guarantee they would not have found much of what they ultimately got, without his cooperation.

In 2012 Michael Wilkie lived in Hendersonville North Carolina with his third wife, Shelby.  They had been married October 10, 2010 after meeting on a dating website.  Their daughter Sidney (I also saw it spelled Sydney) was born almost two years to the day of their wedding on October 8, 2011.  But the Wilkie marriage was set for disaster almost immediately.  Just a week after the wedding Shelby would call her mother saying she could not find her beloved dog.  According to her mother Shelby was very attached to the animal and it was soon learned that Michael had given the dog away to a loan shark for a debt he owed. At least apparently that is what Shelby told her family. Not long after that Shelby would contact authorities and file a restraining order against her husband after she claimed he had blocked her from going to work, had thrown her against a wall and had damaged her car door.  She moved back in with her parents but Wilkie begged her to come back and as they always seem to do, vowed to change.  Shelby dropped the restraining order and returned to her husband.  

Then, in March of 2011 she would again contact authorities and file for a restraining order.  She would claim that he had thrown her on the bed and restrained her as well as preventing her from calling 9-1-1 for help. It appears that he was arrested for assault and was forced into some sort of therapy.  But, as she had done before, Shelby dropped the restraining order.  Only this time it was because she discovered she was pregnant and she wanted to try to work things out.

Over time things continually got worse.  Co-workers would later claim that they saw bruises on Shelby quite often.  Her family would say that according to Shelby every time they argued Michael would go for her ring to remove it almost as instinct.  He would inform her basically she was not leaving the house with the ring, and later, after their daughter was born he warned her she would not be leaving with their daughter either.  Two weeks after Shelby was born Shelby's brother came to the home when he was called because Michael was preventing her from leaving the house with their daughter.  Whether this was for a simply outing, or for good I could not determine as it seems both could have been possible.  For his part, apparently tired of Shelby being the first to call officers to the home, Michael called the police and told them that Shelby was intoxicated and trying to leave with their child. Officers arrived at the home and determined that Shelby was not in fact intoxicated and stayed so that she and her brother could leave with Sidney.  Shelby tried once more to get a restraining order, even indicating that it was a violation from his arrest the previous March but she was denied.  I could not find the reason behind this.

In November Shelby started to put a plan in motion.  First she leased a home, although she was still living in the home with Michael.  She then went to see a lawyer about drawing up at least a separation agreement.  Although I have to say I am uncertain how this was not considered to be a conflict of interest but the lawyer she hired would later be the prosecutor in the trial against Michael Wilkie.  

Shelby obviously knew that leaving would not be easy.  It also seems that it was sometime around this time that Shelby also got in contact with Michael's second wife, Amanda.  Michael and Amanda had also met on an online dating site and were married in 2004.  Amanda had a daughter from a previous relationship and then she and Michael had a daughter. She would claim that while they had been married, and while she was pregnant Michael had been abusive towards her. She claims that Michael had even told her if she ever tried to take their daughter he would kill her.  Amanda left Michael in 2006 and went into hiding.  She had taken her older daughter with her but at least initially had left their three year old with him.  They were officially divorced in 2008.  Amanda says that Shelby had contacted her to discuss Michael's behavior and that they were to talk again but that a few months later she saw on the television that Shelby was missing. She says her first thought was that Shelby had gotten away and on the run.

The next leg of Shelby's plan involved waiting until Michael was working his third shift job.  Her father and brothers would come to the home and move her and Sidney out, and into the home she had leased while he was gone.  This was the plan for Sunday night, January 1, 2012.

During the day of January 1st Shelby talked to her mother and asked her not to be upset but that she was going to try at the marriage one more time.  All of Shelby's family had begged her repeatedly to get away from him and stay away. Shelby's mother would receive a text around five that evening that said "Things have taken turn for the worse.  He's trying to steal my rings. I am trying to keep things calm. I still need Dad and the boys to move me out."  Her mother stated she had been napping when the text came in so she did not see it for a few more hours.  She attempted to call her daughter but received no answer.  She then texted her and asked if she was okay.  She got the one word response of "Yes" back but family claim they do not believe this was from Shelby because she never sent such short messages.  

Between 10:30 and 11:00 that night neighbors of Michael Wilkie returned home from the movies and saw a very large fire in a burn barrel in the back yard of the Wilkie home.  They would later say they did not report it because while they could not positively identify the man they saw feeding and watching over the fire, despite the size of the fire they felt it was being tended to.  The neighbor, like many, would say he did not feel the need to cause trouble with a neighbor over something that seemed trivial at the time.

The following day Shelby's family had still not heard from her and apparently Michael was feeling the pressure.  He waited until what have been a normal time for her to return from work and called to the police to file a missing persons report.  He would claim to authorities that he had seen his wife earlier that morning on her way to work.  However, investigators would learn that the company she worked for was not open that day so she would have never gone to work.  Michael then contacted the local media, reporting her missing and begging for her return.  He had indicated as if she had simply taken off and informed the media that she had suffered from post-partum depression since giving birth.

Of course Shelby's family was adamant that she was not simply missing and that Michael must have done something to her.  Michael had reported Shelby missing on Monday evening and by Thursday he was arrested and charged with her murder.  On Wednesday investigators had found Shelby's SUV parked at the local airport and by Thursday afternoon while interviewing Michael he all but confessed.  Well, at least partially.  Apparently he never then, nor now, has stated exactly what happened and how he killed Shelby, or even truly admitted that he did so.  What he did admit to was that there was blood in the house and that he had taken her body and burned it "because she always wanted to be cremated."  Yes... that was the answer he gave.  He even took authorities out to the woods near property owned by his parents where he dumped the ashes from the burn barrel.  It was there they found a bracelet that Shelby had been given by her mother and she always wore.

It was later discovered that it is likely Michael knew somehow about Shelby's plan to leave him as he was at work because without her knowledge he had apparently asked for a vacation from work spanning from December 30th until January 11th.  

On January 27, 2015 Michael Wilkie was found guilty for the murder of his wife and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.  As I often do I went to the Department of Corrections in North Carolina.  It was not unlike many DOC sites but I do admit seemed to be one of the better ones although everything was not exactly in a way which I understood.  His conviction date was given.  Then there was a date of June 24, 2015 listed as "movement." There was another date of February 1, 2017 listed under "next customary review."  I am unsure what that means in their system but I am certain it is not a release date.


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