Tuesday 23 July, 2019

Jamaican feared dead in the US; husband booked for evidence tampering

Andreen Nicole McDonald

Andreen Nicole McDonald

Investigators in the United States believe that Jamaican-born Andreen Nicole McDonald, who has been reported missing in that country since Friday, is dead, despite them not finding her body up to Sunday night.

Authorities there on Sunday charged the 29-year-old woman's husband, Air Force Major, Andre Sean McDonald, with offences relating to the missing person case, according to US media reports.

McDonald, 40, was booked on a charge of tampering with evidence because he tore up a receipt for the purchase of a shovel, an axe, gasoline and other material that investigators theorised that he intended to use to dispose of his wife’s body.

"I love my daughter. I love my family. That's it," said McDonald as he was led away by deputies on Sunday afternoon at the Bexar County Justice Intake Center.

Bexar County Sheriff's Office deputies had already detained him on Saturday for a mental evaluation by the Air Force. Up to Sunday afternoon, they had refrained from calling McDonald a suspect, though they said there were indications that a homicide had occurred, and that he was not co-operating with the search for his wife.

After developing further information at the McDonald residence on Saturday night, Bexar County Sheriff, Javier Salazar, said a second search warrant for the house was obtained.

"We found some things really quite disturbing," Salazar was quoted as saying in the US media.

"The evidence consisted of a shovel, an axe, some heavy-duty trash bags, some work gloves, and two five-gallon containers of gasoline," the sheriff outlined.

He said they also found a portable burn barrel.

Salazar said the items found in the home led investigators to believe that the implements were going to be used to dispose of a body.

"We believe that Andreen McDonald is no longer living," Salazar said.

He told US reporters prior to Saturday morning that it was a missing person case marked by "very suspicious circumstances".

Salazar added that, "There is literally no sign of her anywhere," and indicated that her husband had declined to speak to deputies who initially questioned him Friday, asserting his rights and retaining an attorney.

A receipt later discovered in McDonald's home by investigators showed that the items found there had been purchased earlier Saturday, according to Salazar.

"There was quite a bit of effort that went into destroying that receipt to try to prevent us seeing where it was purchased and when it was purchased," Salazar said.

He added: "That led us to obtain a warrant of arrest for Andre McDonald for the charge of tampering with evidence."

Investigators took key interest in Andreen McDonald's husband when deputies made contact with him about his wife's disappearance on Friday.

Later, police authorities noticed the husband leaving the house on surveillance they had placed around the property. He was later discovered to be in a gun shop, where Salazar said he purchased a handgun and ammunition.

However, he departed the store without the weapon.

The husband of the Jamaican native was then arrested outside his residence, where blood evidence was also found.

Meanwhile, Salazar disclosed that Andre McDonald worked in cyberwarfare at Lackland. Though he underwent a mental health evaluation over the weekend in Air Force custody, Salazar, on Sunday, said he believed that the major is “of pretty sound mind” and highly intelligent, according to media reports.

“I think he’s treating this as a game,” Salazar said. “His attitude has been one of, kind of smirking, kind of laughing, like he got one over on everybody. But I think it’s pretty evident we’re not joking around with him. He’s behind bars.”

Andreen McDonald reportedly failed to show up at work or return to her residence, located near Canyo Golf and Wilderness Oak, on Friday, March 1, according to officials with the Bexar County Sheriff's Office in San Antonio, Texas.

McDonald had resided in Port Antonio, Jamaica before migrating to the United States. She is a past student of Norwich Primary and Titchfield High school in Portland, Jamaica.

She is said to be five feet 11 inches tall, weighs 160 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes.

McDonald, who had a six-year-old daughter and operated successful home care businesses, was last seen on Thursday, according to the Bexar County Sheriff's Office.

She operated Starlight Homes Assisted Living, which consists of two facilities providing personal care services for the elderly in the San Antonio area.

US media reports revealed, too, that investigators contacted "family members in the Caribbean (Jamaica)", who told them that Andreen McDonald was not there.

The FBI said it had no evidence that she had left the country, the sheriff's office said.

The investigators are continuing their search in wooded areas in North Bexar County as the probe intensifies

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