Missing Texas Mom Is Presumed Dead, and Suspect Husband Allegedly Bought Ax, Trash Bags, Gasoline
An Air Force major is under arrest and suspected of killing his missing wife after authorities say he tried to hide his purchase of an ax, a shovel, two 5-gallon containers of gasoline and a burn barrel — items they say could be “used to dispose of the body.”
“We believe that Andreen McDonald is no longer living,” Bexar County, Texas, Sheriff Javier Salazar told reporters Sunday after the arrest of her husband, 40-year-old Andre McDonald, on an evidence tampering charge.
Andreen Nicole McDonald, the 29-year-old mother of the couple’s 6-year-old daughter, has been missing since Friday, when she didn’t show up to the gym or at her workplace.
Her absence raised the concern of friends who went to the McDonalds’ San Antonio home and talked to her husband. But when the friends “weren’t able to get many answers,” they contacted the sheriff’s office, said Salazar at a Saturday press conference, reports the San Antonio Express-News.
When deputies reached out to question McDonald on Friday about his wife’s possible disappearance, he asserted his right to remain silent and “lawyered up pretty quick,” Salazar said Sunday.
McDonald’s demeanor raised red flags, said Salazar.
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“Not the fact that he asserted his rights,” said the sheriff. “The fact that he didn’t seem to care very much at all that his wife was missing and the fact that he just flat out refused to help us find her.”
Deputies set up surveillance of McDonald on Saturday and followed him to a gun store, where he was observed buying a gun and ammunition, Salazar said.
But McDonald then left the store in a hurry, leaving the gun and his identification behind.
Officials concerned about McDonald’s mental health took him into custody for an evaluation. Afterward they obtained a search warrant for the couple’s house, where investigators on Saturday night allegedly saw possible evidence — including blood — “in plain view,” said Salazar.
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They also recovered a torn-up sales receipt listing items — the ax, shovel, gasoline, burn barrel and trash bags — which authorities suspect “were implements that were going to be used to dispose of the body,” said the sheriff.
“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 alleged. “That led us to obtain a warrant of arrest for Andre McDonald for the charge of tampering with evidence.”
He has not been charged with his wife’s disappearance or murder, although he is a suspect, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by the Express-News. An attorney who might speak on his behalf was not immediately identified.
At the Bexar County Justice Intake Center on Sunday as he was led away by deputies, Andre responded to questions from reporters by saying, “I love my daughter. I love my family. That’s it,” reports the Express-News.
He has so far not been cooperating with the investigation, Salazar alleged.
“He’s a very intelligent person, and I think he’s treating this as a game,” said the sheriff, who added, “I think it’s pretty evident that we’re not joking around with him. He’s behind bars right now.”
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