“Dark Waters”: ’20/20′ Bad Romance on Michael Severance Homicide March 4 2024

“Dark Waters,” a special edition of “Bad Romance” on ABC’s 20/20, aired on March 4, 2024, delving into the mysterious disappearance and subsequent murder of Air Force Staff Sergeant Michael Severance in January 2005. The episode uncovers the intricate layers of this chilling case, shedding light on the life of Severance, his relationship with Wendi Mae Davidson, and the grim details leading to his untimely death. Davidson, a Texas veterinarian, was later convicted for her involvement in Severance’s murder, serving a 25-year sentence. This feature article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the case, from Severance’s disappearance to the investigation, trial, and the aftermath for all involved.

The Disappearance of Michael Severance

In January 2005, the Severance family was thrust into a nightmare when Michael Severance, a dedicated and decorated Air Force Staff Sergeant, vanished without a trace. Michael, who had completed five tours in the Middle East and was preparing for his sixth, disappeared, leaving behind his car, cell phone, and a family desperate for answers. His wife, Wendi Mae Davidson, claimed to have last seen him on January 15, 2005, suggesting his drinking might have been related to stress over his possible redeployment.

The disappearance prompted an extensive search led by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) in collaboration with the San Angelo Police Department. Initial theories speculated Severance could be avoiding another tour of duty, but the investigation soon took a darker turn. Davidson’s behavior and the discovery of searches for “decomposition of a body in water” on her computer hinted at a more sinister explanation for Severance’s absence.

The Investigation Unfolds

The turning point in the investigation came when authorities decided to track Davidson’s movements, leading them to a remote ranch about 20 miles from the couple’s residence. It was there, in a secluded pond, that they discovered Severance’s body, weighed down by car parts, tires, and cinder blocks. A subsequent toxicology report revealed a chilling detail: Severance had been poisoned with animal tranquilizers before being stabbed 41 times post-mortem. These findings contradicted the initial appearance of a simple disappearance, unveiling a calculated and brutal murder.

Davidson’s arrest followed swiftly after these discoveries. Despite her claims of finding Severance’s body at their home and denying any involvement in his death, evidence mounted against her. Davidson admitted to disposing of her husband’s body and making incisions to prevent it from floating, a fact that painted a gruesome picture of her actions following Severance’s murder.

The Trial and Aftermath

In October 2006, Davidson faced the consequences of her actions, pleading no contest to first-degree murder and two counts of tampering with evidence. While she maintained her innocence regarding the murder, her plea acknowledged her involvement in the aftermath. The case brought to light not only the details of Severance’s tragic end but also the complex dynamics of his relationship with Davidson, their family tensions, and the impact of military life on personal relationships.

Davidson’s sentence to 25 years in prison marked the closure of a legal chapter but opened a lifelong chapter of grief and questions for Severance’s family and friends. Denied parole in 2019, Davidson’s incarceration continues, as does her separation from her children, whom she has not seen since they were young.

More 20/20 Bad Romance: Dark Waters


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Ryan Gill

Ryan is a passionate follower of true crime television programs, reporting on and providing in-depth investigations on mysteries in the criminal world.

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