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In search warrant, State Patrol says they think woman missing since June 16 may have been killed
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In search warrant, State Patrol says they think woman missing since June 16 may have been killed

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New details are emerging in the disappearance of a 55-year-old woman last seen in rural Table Rock on June 16. 

The search for Linda Dillard started four days later, when her ex-husband reported her missing. 

Linda Dillard

Linda Dillard

In search warrants filed in Lincoln and Pawnee City, Nebraska State Patrol investigator Amanda DeFreece said Dillard had left her home near Fairbury the weekend before her disappearance to visit friends in the Falls City area. 

She and a friend drank at a bar in Salem on June 12, a Saturday, then visited an acreage near the Table Rock State Wildlife Management Area and joined a group drinking in Table Rock the next day. 

DeFreece said investigators believe the group went back to the farmstead and smoked methamphetamine. 

Dillard never was seen again.

When family went to the farmstead and asked to look around, they found the wig she'd been wearing in a bathroom, DeFreece said.

After Dillard was reported missing, Pawnee County Sheriff's deputies searched the property and found clothes that belonged to her. 

DeFreece said the man who lives there told investigators Dillard had walked away at about 3 a.m. June 16 after accusing him of sexual assault. He later said a friend picked her up and they drove away, according to the documents.

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State Patrol investigators say they learned that early June 16 Dillard had a verbal disagreement or confrontation with the man at the farmstead and she called her ex-husband to pick her up. 

When Dillard's ex-husband got there the next morning, the man said she had left.

Family have expressed concern for Dillard's safety. She suffers from hip dysplasia that limits her mobility, making them skeptical she would've left on foot. She doesn't have a driver's license or car.

Family members also don't think she would have left her wig behind.

Since then, she hasn't used her cellphone or posted to social media accounts. And when law enforcement tried to ping her phone, it was turned off or dead. 

And the four people believed to be the last to see her alive early June 16 have given conflicting statements, DeFreece said.

One of them was on video using Dillard's Cash App account in Humboldt that weekend.

"Due to the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Linda Dillard as described, investigators suspect that she may have been the victim of a crime to include: theft, assault, kidnapping, and/or murder," she said. 

DeFreece said a woman who lived in a camper on the property, one of the four, allegedly told someone she had helped hide the body. 

She was arrested on unrelated charges.

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The man who owns the farmstead also now is facing drug charges after a search there July 22 allegedly turned up methamphetamine, ketamine and carisoprodol, a muscle relaxer, according to court records. 

While conducting surveillance before serving the search warrant on July 22, law enforcement saw a Ford Expedition back up to the home and the woman unload what appeared to be cleaning supplies and rags, before she and another man who live there loaded a piece of carpet into the SUV and drove to a home in Shubert. 

Investigators later got a search warrant and seized two rugs from that home. 

No one yet has been charged in connection with Dillard's disappearance and her body hasn't yet been found, despite multiple searches by law enforcement. 

Nebraska Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information in the investigation.

Anyone with information on her disappearance can submit a tip at 800-422-1494, at nebraskacrimestoppers.com or their P3 Tips mobile app.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSpilger

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Public safety reporter

Lori Pilger is a Norfolk native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been a public safety reporter for the Journal Star since 2005.

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