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Eva death under investigation
Morgan sheriff's investigators keep case open; family searches for answers

By Seth Burkett 340-2355

EVA — Did you drive down Frost Road on the afternoon of May 16?

Members of an Eva family say they continue to hope that someone who was in the area that day saw something that could shed light on the mysterious death of a loved one.

Diane Wilson, 60, was found shot in the head inside her burning home at 559 Frost Drive on May 16. Her death remains under investigation despite indications that her wound could have been self-inflicted.

Morgan County sheriff's investigators agreed with family members that a few things about the case don't sit well.

"Let's just say it's not closed," said Sgt. John Bili, head of the sheriff's Criminal Investigations Division. "We want to be right, for the family."

Wilson's oldest daughter, Krista Drinkard, 38, and daughter-in-law, Misty Wilson, 28, along with other family members, have been trying to find answers by posting flyers asking for information and sifting through the ashes of the house.

"The family cannot rest," said Wilson, the wife of 31-year-old Michael Wilson, the only son of Robert and Diane Wilson. "The children know in their hearts their mother would not have done this. She was fine, she was in good spirits. She had events that she was planning for. ... There are a number of things that aren't adding up, and we're looking for answers. Either way it goes, they just want to find some answers to rest."

Drinkard said Diane Wilson loved her children and grandchildren too much to put them through the pain of suicide.

"She wouldn't have done that, and she wouldn't have set the house on fire. None of it makes sense whatsoever," Drinkard said.

"Unless she walked in on someone and didn't realize it ... she didn't have any enemies," said Drinkard. "That's one of our theories, that she may have walked in on someone because she normally wasn't home at that time of day."

Drinkard said she received a call from her mother shortly before the fire led to the discovery of her body. Wilson had called at 2:02 p.m. only to say that she had returned home early from babysitting at the nearby house of her younger daughter, Amanda Burke, 29.

"If she had (intended to harm herself), I think she would have told me that she loved me on the answering machine," Drinkard said.

"I drove past her house around 2:30 p.m. and didn't see any smoke or any strange cars or anything," she said.

Drinkard said she received the message at about 2:45 p.m. and tried to call back but didn't get an answer. She assumed her mother had gone on an errand.

At about 3 p.m., she said, a volunteer fireman who saw the smoke at Diane Wilson's house came to fetch her brother-in-law, Brian Burke.

Relatives said items that may be missing or out of place at the house could support the theory of Wilson walking in on a burglar.

"We found the bracelet that she wore 90 percent of the time lying in the hallway, broken," Misty Wilson said.

Wilson also said her mother-in-law always wore glasses but didn't have them on when found.

Drinkard said her mother habitually kept her medications and purse on a table in the kitchen, which didn't burn, but neither could be found.

Investigators said they have yet to confirm whether any property was missing from the premises and that the degree of damage to the house, which partially collapsed, would make it difficult to account for everything.

Complete autopsy reports and a ruling by the state fire marshal could shift the investigation one way or the other.

"I need to know how that fire got started," said Investigator Kyle Wilson, no relation, who is assigned to the case.

Preliminary autopsy reports revealed smoke in Diane Wilson's lungs, meaning Wilson died after the fire began, he said.

The fire appeared to have begun in a back room. Wilson's body was found near the front door and did not appear burned.

Wilson owned the gun that fired the fatal shot. Investigators also said Wilson suffered contact wounds, meaning she was shot at extremely close range.

Tests for gunpowder residue on Diane Wilson's hands came up negative, but Kyle Wilson said the fire could have affected the outcome of those tests.

"Everything is speculation right now. We have nothing concrete," Wilson said. "I do have another person of interest I want to talk to."

But Misty Wilson and Drinkard said they fear the case is already closed in the minds of the community.

"We're trying to keep it current and open," said Misty Wilson. "... We heard different things about people talking about it, and we want them to come forward. If anybody drove by and saw something, they might not have thought anything about it then, but it might help us find out something."

Relatives said Diane Wilson suffered from health problems including diabetes, lower back and leg pain and took medications including anti-depressants, but that her pain was under control and she was planning to undergo surgery.

"She seemed okay. She didn't seem depressed," said Drinkard. "We had been to Misty's daughter's birthday party the Saturday before. She was tired and her leg was hurting, but she seemed fine."

"None of it is making any sense," said Misty Wilson. "We keep putting things together, but there's a lot of puzzle pieces missing at this time. We don't want this to be one of those cases where we don't find anything out for ten years. We really need the community's help."

She urged anyone with information to call Investigator Kyle Wilson at 560-6188.

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