published Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Medical examiner not sure how woman died before dismemberment

A medical examiner's report says it's unknown how a woman was killed before her body was dismembered and dumped along a creek bank nearly three months ago.

The remains of Dana Wilkes, 48, were found Nov. 25 near Youngstown Road. Her head and hands, along with part of her forearms, were severed from her body. Animals and decomposition had set in from the waist up, also making it challenging for forensic pathologists to determine how she died.

"The head is absent, neck severed at the third cervical vertebra; the resection margin shows a pattern consistent with tool mark," the report states.

Bruises were noted along her midabdomen and neck, according to the report. A toxicology report also showed Wilkes tested positive for alcohol and methadone.

Wilkes was identified by her ankle tattoos of Mickey Mouse and two butterflies, chest X-rays showing sternal wires and an orthopedic plate in her lower neck, according to the report.

She was reported missing Nov. 10 when she didn't show up for work at the Dialysis Clinic Inc. on East Third Street. Her 2000 green Jeep Cherokee was found near the Wilcox Tunnel on Wilcox Boulevard a day later with blood splattered inside.

Police found the door of her duplex unlocked. Her purse, which contained her insulin, was found inside her home, according to family members on a website set up to locate her.

Police arrested 53-year-old Tony Bigoms Jr. on charges of first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse after they say evidence linked him to Wilkes. A Hamilton County grand jury indicted him.

Bigoms was a friend of Wilkes' husband, Tom Wilkes, who was incarcerated at the time of his wife's death.

This isn't the first time Bigoms has been charged in a killing.

A jury acquitted him of murder in the 2006 death of Dinah Burney. Her body also was dumped. She died from strangulation, according to newspaper archives.

Bigoms' next court date is set for April 3 before Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman.

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