New details were recently released in the case against Andrew Wilhoite, the Lebanon resident accused of murdering his wife.
Cancer survivor Elizabeth Nicole “Nikki” Wilhoite, 41, first came to the attention of police on Friday, March 25th after she didn’t show up for work that morning. A concerned coworker at Indiana Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery contacted them, explaining that Nikki “was having issues with her husband” and had recently filed for divorce.
When Boone County Sheriff’s Deputy Craig Fouts went to the Wilhoite home to do a welfare check, he encountered the couple’s children. The kids told Deputy Fouts they had been unable to reach their mother and did not know where she was. Nikki’s stepdaughter suggested she might be at her sister’s because “Elizabeth leaves when she gets upset.”
As Fouts was preparing to leave, Nikki’s husband of 12 years pulled into the driveway on his tractor. Andrew Wilhoite told the deputy he last saw his wife the night before, around 11 pm. According to the probable cause affidavit later filed by the Boone County Prosecutor, “Andrew stated that they had a pretty good fight last night, and she was drunk.” He pointed out scratches on his neck, indicating they were evidence of Nikki’s aggression.
In this version of the story, Andrew said Nikki physically attacked him after learning about his affair. He claimed she went to sleep on the couch after their argument ended and, supposedly, was still asleep when he left that morning to work around the farm. He denied knowing why his wife wasn’t at work or where she might be. He did, however, volunteer the information that she had withdrawn $3000 from her retirement account the previous week and filed for divorce. Perhaps not coincidentally, Nikki’s petition for legal separation coincided with her last chemotherapy session.
If Andrew was trying to suggest that Nikki had simply left, a subsequent search of the property quickly cast doubt on that idea. Investigators found bloodstains on a mattress, set of sheets, and pillow. Blood was also found in the master bath. But the real damage to Andrew Wilhoite’s story occurred when Nikki’s cell phone, purse, and vehicle were discovered in the garage.
After collecting the evidence, the Boone County Sheriff’s Office declared Nikki an endangered missing person then recused itself from the case. Andrew Wilhoite’s mother is Marcia Wilhoite, a member of the Boone County Council. As councilwoman, she influences the budgets of other county officials, including the sheriff and prosecutor. Rather than risk a possible conflict of interest, Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen asked the Indiana State Police to assume lead on the case.
In the interview by state police, Andrew initially repeated his story, telling investigators Nikki typically consumed a large container of rum “every two days after work,” and it caused her to act belligerently. He insisted she “came at him,” during an argument about the affair she’d recently discovered. Investigators confronted him with pictures of the blood evidence from their bedroom, and Andrew said the blood was his. His confidence quickly wilted under continued questioning, though. He asked to speak to a lawyer.
After conferring with an attorney, Wilhoite told police he wished to make a statement and show them where to find Nikki’s body.
Andrew maintained that the couple had argued most of the night when Nikki (who, it should be noted, was physically weakened from both cancer and chemotherapy) attacked her much-larger husband and told him to leave. He responded by bodily throwing her out the front door. She allegedly turned to charge at him, and he struck her in the face with a gallon-sized concrete flowerpot, knocking her unconscious. He said he “didn’t know what to do” at that point, so he picked her up off the ground and threw her in his truck. Then he drove to Ross Ditch and dumped her over the bridge on Boone County 400 East, just south of County Road 350 North. According to the affidavit,“Andrew was asked if Elizabeth was still breathing, and Andrew stated he didn’t know because he didn’t check.”
Nikki’s body was found partially submerged in about 3 feet of water a few miles from her home. An autopsy later found she died of blunt force trauma.
The Boone County Prosecutor has filed murder charges against Andrew Wilhoite. He faces 45-60 years in prison if convicted.
If you or someone you love is the victim of domestic violence, please reach out for help at by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233).