Posted 11 months ago
By John Axtell
The search for woman abducted about noon Saturday from the Lincoln hair salon she owns by her estranged husband ended Sunday night in the southwest corner of the state near Imperial when she walked to safety and he was found dead.
38-year old Julie Hanes walked out from a cornfield about 2-1/2 miles west of Imperial about 7:30 Sunday evening and authorities found the body of 37-year-old Dwayne Lawrence some 90-minutes later about 130-feet into the same cornfield, dead of self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
After the armed Lawrence took Hanes from the Lincoln salon, the initial search focused to the west…in part because several members of Hanes’ family…including her parents…live in or near Imperial.
The search tightened to Imperial after a city police officer spotted Lawrence’s care shortly before dawn Sunday, but it sped off before it could be stopped.
A motorist reported seeing a couple matching their description walking along a road in the area, and the active search began around 8:30 am after a local farmer called the Imperial police to report finding an abandoned car matching the description of the car on a driveway at the end of an irrigated field.
Authorities established a perimeter. Law enforcement officers from the Nebraska State Patrol, Imperial Police Department and the Chase County Sheriff’s Office…aided K-9 units and the Nebraska State Patrol Helicopter…then combed an 8-mile area approximately two miles west of Imperial.
Hanes was taken to the Imperial hospital shortly after she walked out of the field and appeared unharmed as she was seen walking and talking to people at the search staging area where she was taken before being transported to the hospital.
The couple were married in 2001, but court records show that Hanes filed for divorce July 30, about two weeks after she obtained a protection order against Lawrence…telling a judge he had threatened her several times.
A July 8 incident saw several charges filed against Lawrence. Hanes told police that he fired a gunshot into their bedroom wall and threatened to kill himself in front of her in the hope that she would take her own life. She said that to get him to lower the gun, she told him she’d stay with him.
Lawrence was charged with false imprisonment, terrorist threats, and felony use of a weapon. When he was freed July 16 on $25,000 bail, he was ordered to stay away from both Hanes and any firearms.