Michael Wilson and Dakota Saldivar have been charged as adults in the brutal murder of their mother in Nevada. The two 17-year-old boys confessed to stabbing and beating Dawn Liebig to death after she had gone to sleep, hours after getting into an argument with her. The killing happened in Pahrump, Nevada, which is about 60 miles west of Las Vegas.
Wilson and Saldivar were denied bail August 2 during an initial court appearance. They did not enter a plea. The teens’ will next appear before a judge August 9, at Pahrump Justice Court.
There appear to have been clues about possible domestic violence problems. Messages from Dawn Liebig’s friends on Facebook hint at past issues. And the caller who asked deputies to check on Liebig reportedly said he did not trust the teens living with her.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. A Friend From Out of State Called Deputies Asking Them to Check on Dawn Liebig
46-year-old Dawn Liebig was reported missing on July 30. According to an arrest report obtained by local TV station KVVU, a man from Idaho contacted the Nye County Sheriff’s Office. His name was not listed in the report. He wanted to know about a welfare check conducted the previous week.
The caller reportedly told detectives that he did not trust the teenagers living at the home. A deputy went to investigate, but did not find Liebig and said it was possible she had gone to Las Vegas. A second deputy followed up, and found Liebig’s cellphone in the home. At that point, a missing person’s report was filed.
Back at the house, deputies interviewed two of Liebig’s sons, Michael Wilson and Dakota Saldivar. According to the Nye County Sheriff’s Office, the teens said they had not heard from their mother and denied knowing where she might be.
Both of the boys are 17. Wilson told deputies he had been living with Liebig for about five years and that she had adopted him. It was not immediately clear if Saldivar was adopted, but Facebook posts from Liebig’s trends after her death indicate that he was also adopted.
2. Michael Wilson and Dakota Saldivar’s Stories Changed in Further Interviews
Sergeant Adam Tippetts of the Nye County Sheriff’s Office shared details of the investigation on the department’s Facebook page. He stated that deputies became suspicious because the teens’ stories were inconsistent, and conducted searches on their cellphones.
Wilson and Saldivar eventually told deputies that Dawn Liebig was dead, but claimed she had been suicidal. They insisted their mother urged them to help her die, and confessed to stabbing her. At that point, Michael Wilson took deputies to the spot in the desert where they had buried Liebig. Her body was discovered in a shallow grave. Wilson also led detectives to the place where they had hidden the weapons used in her death.
3. Wilson and Saldivar Ultimately Confessed to Killing Their Mother After an Argument and That They Waited Until After She Had Gone to Sleep to Begin Attacking Her
Michael Wilson and Dakota Saldivar changed their story one final time. The Nye County Sheriff’s Office says that during additional interviews, the teens finally confessed to killing their mother after she had gone to bed. Sergeant Tippetts says the boys admitted they’d had a fight with Dawn Liebig hours before the murder. They were “tired of her parenting style and demands on them.”
Wilson and Saldivar described waiting until Liebig had fallen asleep to attack her. The beating lasted about half an hour. They said Liebig tried to fight back.
KVVU-TV obtained the arrest report which contained more graphic details. According to the report, Wilson and Saldivar said they had planned to stab her in the jugular vein in order to kill her quickly. Wilson told police he stabbed his mother in the neck, at which point she woke up and cried out, “No!” Saldivar confessed that he hit Liebig in the head with a hammer 20 times, only stopping after the hammer went through her skull. Saldivar also reportedly told detectives that Dawn Liebig did not realize that he and Wilson were th attackers, because she was crying out to them to help her.
4. Michael Wilson and Dakota Saldivar Have Been Charged as Adults
Michael Wilson and Dakota Saldivar were arrested and booked into the Nye County Detention Center. They were booked into the adult criminal justice center. The charges include:
• Open Murder
• Conspiracy to Commit Murder
• Domestic Battery with a Deadly Weapon
No bond was set and the two teens have not yet entered a plea. They are due back in court August 9.
Dawn Liebig has an older son named Michael Liebig, who is currently incarcerated. The Nye County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on Facebook that he has been notified of his mother’s passing.
5. Dawn Liebig’s Final Facebook Posts Hinted at Possible Turmoil
Dawn Liebig was originally from Panorama City, California. Her Facebook profile was largely dedicated to pictures of her sons and other family members. Her bio stated, “im a mom that hopes she did okay.i want my boys to become the men i hoped for.i live for them. ” The profile also states she retired in 2013.
It appears Liebig was raising the teens by herself. Her relationship status on Facebook was “single” and she posted few pictures of herself.
Liebig referenced battling cancer in a post from July 2017. She wrote, “Still fighting …boys wont let me go.wake up in pain ..just want it all gone.gonna start seeing all the doctors again.get the tumor out of my head.and the cancer out of my throat.”
Dawn Liebig posted four messages on Facebook on July 19, the last day she shared anything on the social media page. They included memes that hinted at turmoil within the home and with the people in her life. One meme suggested she felt very alone.
Another meme reads, “Karma comes after everyone eventually… What goes around comes around. That’s how it works. Sooner or later the universe will serve you the revenge that you deserve.”
Dawn Liebig also reportedly kept 20 cats at her home. Deputies found the animals inside the house, after Wilson and Saldivar mentioned they needed to care for them. Some of the cats were malnourished.