Air Force Reserve major charged with wife’s murder tried to hide body beneath dead cow, records say
By ROSE L. THAYER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 16, 2019
AUSTIN, Texas — Air Force Reserve Maj. Andre McDonald attempted to hide his wife’s body with the remains of a dead cow in a rural area miles from their San Antonio home where he is believed to have killed her, according to Bexar County court documents.
McDonald, 40, was arrested and charged by the county sheriff’s office on Saturday with the murder of his wife Andreen McDonald, 29, whose remains were found Thursday on private property about 6 miles from the couple’s home, according to court records. Andreen McDonald was last seen Feb. 28.
Andre McDonald was charged and arrested in March for tampering with evidence after he reported his wife missing. Evidence found in the home at that time showed he purchased items such as an axe, shovel and hatchet the day after she was reported missing and then he tried to destroy the receipt. He was released on bond and under house arrest when Andreen McDonald’s body was found and he was subsequently taken into custody again.
Details in the court records also revealed Andre McDonald attempted to set fire to the area where his wife’s remains were found and the couple’s daughter might have witnessed the events.
A friend of Andreen McDonald told police that while helping care for Andreen’s daughter since her disappearance, the young girl, who is on the autism spectrum and mostly nonverbal, had mentioned “Andre hurting mommy,” according to the court records. The friend had also witnessed the girl putting her doll in a circle of rocks, covering it with sticks, and then asking for “the fire.”
“I don’t know how much the little girl knows,” Sheriff Javier Salazar said during a news conference Saturday. “We are still of the belief this little girl witnessed some things in connection with the death of her mom.”
Andreen McDonald’s remains were found when the owner of the property asked a friend to help remove two cow skulls that the landowner knew were located on his 50 acres, according to the court records. The friend discovered what he believed to be a human skull and bones and evidence at the scene showed the area had been set on fire, according to the court records.
Andreen McDonald’s remains were identified using dental records, and Andre McDonald was taken into custody Saturday without incident, Salazar said.
The sheriff did not speculate on a motive for the killing and believes Andre McDonald acted alone.
Andre McDonald served as a cyberwarfare officer with the 426th Network Warfare Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, according to a statement from the Air Force Personnel Center.
"We are saddened by this news, but take comfort in the fact that Andreen's family will now have closure," said Lt. Col. Steven Chetelat, 426th NWS commander. "We wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to them, and we will continue to work with the [sheriff’s office], providing any support requested in conjunction with this arrest and charge."
The FBI has also participated into the investigation of this incident.
Andre McDonald’s bond was set at $2 million and he was in Bexar County Jail.