Andre McDonald charged with wife's murder, sheriff announces

Andre McDonald arrested Saturday

By Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist, Fares Sabawi - Digital Producer, Julie Moreno - Executive Producer/Social Media, Dillon Collier - Investigative Reporter, Eddie Latigo - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - A man suspected in his wife's March 1 disappearance has been charged with her murder after authorities earlier this week discovered remains on private property in North Bexar County.

Andre McDonald was taken into custody at a home on the city's Northeast Side. KSAT captured the moment Andre McDonald surrendered to authorities.

McDonald's arrest comes days after human remains were found near where volunteers and law enforcement have been searching for McDonald's wife, Andreen McDonald.

"The search for Andreen is officially over," Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said during a press conference Saturday. "We found her a few minutes ago. We took Andre McDonald into custody for the offense of murder." 

Deputies were called out to the 600 block of Specht Road around 7:30 p.m. Thursday after bones and a skull were found about 20 yards from the road on a 50-acre private property. 

Salazar said that through dental records, the remains were definitively identified by the Medical Examiner as Andreen McDonald.

Salazar said the owner of the property had asked a friend to search for cow bones when he discovered what appeared to be human bones and called authorities.

“A gentleman that was out walking that area looking for cow bones stumbled upon the remains of Andreen McDonald," said Salazar. "Of course, we didn't know that it was her at first.” 

"That animal was known to have died at some point in February prior to Andreen passing away," said Salazar. "I think we counted up in excess of 130 days that that she was out there, and the evidence that we found the condition of the remains was was quite consistent with that."

Since Andreen McDonald's disappearance, numerous searches have been conducted for the mother and local businesswoman, but Salazar said the remains found Thursday were located on private property where they previously hadn't searched.

According to Salazar, Andre McDonald knows the owner of the property where Andreen McDonald's remains were located.

Additionally, the owner of the property told investigators they do not go out to the multi-acre property often and can sometimes go as long as a year without visiting the property.

McDonald is being held in lieu of $2 million bail, the sheriff said. Should he be released, Salazar said Andre McDonald will be subject to multiple bail conditions.

Andre McDonald, an Air Force major reservist, was first arrested on the tampering with evidence charge in March after investigators discovered that he purchased cans of gasoline, heavy duty trash bags, work gloves, a portable burn barrel, a shovel and an ax around the time of his wife's disappearance.

Andre McDonald then tried to destroy the receipt for those purchases, investigators said.

"He went to great lengths to destroy that receipt. We were able to recover it but that's what led to the tampering with evidence charge," said Salazar. "So, I think a lot of his behavior up to this point, along with some of the evidence that I won't go too much into detail on, are what led to to this charge."

Additionally, search warrants for the couple's home on Solitude Cove, obtained immediately after Andreen McDonald's disappearance, revealed investigators found that the floor appeared to have been recently cleaned and that there was a red stain on a light switch.

The red stain, court records note, was later determined to be human blood and hair. The floors were also found to have human blood.

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An affidavit states that investigators located what they believed to be more blood evidence in the couple's silver Chevrolet Malibu, as well as Andre McDonald's cellphone and his wife's old cellphone.

Arrest documents state that investigators also noticed a burn pile in the backyard, where it appeared that something had been recently burned. Upon closer inspection, a friend of McDonald's noted that they had discovered a zipper in the burn pit.

In a second search, officials noted that there was a new fire pit that wasn't there during previous searches.

Court documents note that it appeared the fire pit had been recently used to destroy papers and other items.

Additionally, as investigators searched trash cans at the home, they found "heavy coveralls" that appeared to have been worn and a claw hammer with "woody plant debris," the affidavit states.

Salazar declined to share a motive Saturday, but said there's evidence that McDonald killed his wife and then disposed of her remains.

"Now we begin the process of preparing this case to go to trial with the DA's office," said Salazar. "We're absolutely not going to rest until we've completely brought Andre and anybody else that may be involved to to justice."

Continuing coverage on KSAT.com:

Sheriff: 'Way too early' to tell if human remains belong to Andreen McDonald 

Video shows how drone is helping the search for missing Andreen McDonald 

Husband of missing businesswoman Andreen McDonald makes court appearance 

Group continues search for Andreen McDonald 

Husband of Andreen McDonald released from BCSO custody 

Judge significantly reduces bail for Andreen McDonald's husband 

Andreen McDonald's husband asks for reduction of $2M bail 

Search continues on for Andreen McDonald at Camp Bullis

Local group prepares for new search for Andreen McDonald 

Sheriff Salazar: Medical examiner 'pretty definite' charred remains not those of Andreen McDonald 

Search group hopeful remains found in north Bexar County belong to Andreen McDonald

Reward offered for information in Andreen McDonald case 

Andreen McDonald's husband could face murder charge despite lack of body 

160+ volunteers help search for Andreen McDonald 

Andreen McDonald's mother bracing for worst 

Warrant reveals blood, hair found in bathroom of missing woman's home 

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