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BOONE COUNTY, Ind. — A Boone County man was arrested early Saturday morning on a preliminary charge of murder after his wife was found dead.

Andrew Wilhoite is accused of murdering his wife, Nikki Wilhoite, and dumping her body in a creek near the couple’s home.

The Boone County Sheriff’s Office was contacted after Nikki didn’t show up for work on Saturday morning. A deputy did a welfare check at her rural home and found her husband, but no sign of her.

Major Brian Stevenson with the sheriff’s office said the deputy spoke with Andrew and found evidence at the home. That led them to believe this missing person case might be a homicide investigation.

The sheriff contacted Indiana State Police to take over the investigation because of a potential “conflict on interest.” Andrew Wilhoite’s mother, Marcia Wilhoite, is an at-large member of the Boone County Council.

An Indiana State Police spokesperson said its detective took over the case and learned that the couple had previously had a “domestic dispute.” Investigators said Andrew hit his wife on the head with a blunt object, which rendered her unconscious.

Andrew then allegedly put his wife’s body in a car and dumped it in a creek near their home, according to police. Police said they located Nikki’s body around 3 a.m. on Saturday morning. ISP said she was found in around three feet of water.

“How can you do that to the mother of your kids,” neighbor Laura Vaughn said.

The details of what happened have stunned neighbors. Some of them said the Wilhoite family is well known as the owners of Wilhoite Family Farms.

A Facebook post from Andrew Wilhoite indicates his wife Nikki was battling cancer and that she had just wrapped up chemotherapy treatments last week.

“She just finished chemo and stuff,” Vaughn said. “She was trying to get well and for him to do something like that to her it’s not right.”

Police have not released a motive for the killing, however court records indicate Nikki filed for divorce on March 17. The couple had been married for more than 12 years.

“If he’s guilty he should pay severely for what he did to his wife and mother of his children,” Vaughn said.

Andrew is being held in the Boone County Jail without bond.

Indiana State Police said anyone with any relevant information should contact them or the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.