Partial remains of body found in Chattanooga awaits ID

Partial remains of body found in Chattanooga awaits ID

November 27th, 2012 by Beth Burger in News

Body found on Youngstown Road.

Photo by Laura McNutt/Times Free Press.

An unlocked door, a bottle of life-giving insulin and blood spatters in a 2000 Jeep Cherokee hinted at what might have happened to a woman who went missing more than two weeks ago.

The discovery of partial remains of a woman in the 3700 block of Youngstown Road on Sunday leaves no doubt that the victim met a grisly end. Chattanooga police believe the woman did not die where her remains were found.

But whether the remains are those of 48-year-old Dana Wilkes has yet to be determined.

Family members believe they could be.

Wilkes, who stood 4 feet 11 inches tall and weighed just 100 pounds, was last seen Nov. 9.

An autopsy is scheduled to take place today. Forensic pathologists at the Hamilton County Medical Examiner's Office are working to identify the remains, which may involve sending off DNA samples.

"There has not been a positive identification yet. ... It is likely that this is Dana, but we will wait for the results to come back," Wilkes' family posted Sunday on Facebook on a page set up to find her. "Thank you for all of your prayers and support during this painfully difficult time."

Wilkes was last seen near her home in the 100 block of Palo Verde Drive on Nov. 9. Her 2000 green Jeep Cherokee was found near Wilcox Tunnel on Wilcox Boulevard a day later with blood splattered inside of it.

A missing-person flier with Wilkes' picture was posted on her front door Monday afternoon. A neighbor who declined to give his name said he heard her vehicle start at 11:30 p.m. the night she went missing.

"I just heard her leave," he said. "She was a great woman. I don't have a bad thing to say about her. She never argued with anybody."

Wilkes' husband, Tom, has been locked up in Hamilton County Jail without bond since he was arrested Oct. 21 for violating his probation through the motor vehicle offenders act.

Tom Wilkes has a lengthy record of mostly traffic offenses as well as a few drug-related arrests, according to court records.

The neighbor said the couple was driving in Alton Park when police made a traffic stop and arrested 57-year-old Tom Wilkes.

Many of Dana Wilkes' family members reside out of the area. She was first reported missing by co-workers when she did not show up for work at the Dialysis Clinic Inc. on East Third Street.

Police were contacted and found the door of her duplex unlocked. Wilkes' purse, which contained her insulin, was found inside her home, according to family members on the website.

Wilkes works as a certified patient care technician who helps administer dialysis to patients. She has worked for the company for 14 years, said Rebecca Burt, an administrator at the clinic.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Chattanooga police at 423-698-2525.

Contact staff writer Beth Burger at bburger@times freepress.com or 423-757-6406. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/abburger.