Prayer vigil held for 'beautiful black Barbie' after disappearance

Family, friends gather in honor of Andreen McDonald

By Japhanie Gray - Reporter, Jennifer Galvan - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - Family, friends and loved ones gathered for a prayer vigil in honor of Andreen McDonald on Sunday evening at the Grotto Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes. 

“We wanted to bring people together to honor her life and the legacy she had,” said Joseph Spencer, coordinator of the event. “I knew her from working in the senior and hospice care industry, and I know she has done so much for the short time she has been here.” 

The Rev. Katrina Ornelas, who visited McDonald’s assisted living business Starlight Homes, as a chaplain, officiated the vigil. 

“She talked the talk and walked the walk,” Ornelas said. “So she was the example of being Christlike. That is what I want for everybody to remember about her.”

Ornelas said she, too, saw how hard of a worker McDonald was at her business. 

“It wasn’t just a business, it was a way of life for her, and she believed in the truth of as you do unto others, it will be done unto you,” Ornelas said. “It was impeccable, the way she ran her business. She took care of those patients, and those who worked with her were treated like gold.” 

McDonald also served as a board member of the Center On Independent Living with her friend, Dr. Dee Dee Aspell, who spoke at the vigil. 

“She took real good care of my mom,” Aspell said. “She took real good care of her. Every time I see her, I would think of my mom. Again, thank you very much for the tremendous care you gave to my mom.”

“Beautiful black Barbie," "tall," "an athletic beast" and "powerful woman” were just a few of the ways people remembered McDonald. They also took time to raise awareness for domestic violence. 

“It does not care what race, creed, nationality, if you are male, female or child,” Ornelas said. “It doesn’t care if you are poor or if you are rich. If we see slight things happening, we have to speak up. We have to encourage our men, our women, our children to talk.”

McDonald’s husband, Andre McDonald, is facing a charge of tampering with evidence in connection to her disappearance, and those in attendance had a specific message for him. 

“Justice will be served, and we are all praying for that,” Spencer said. “If he is watching this, I hope that you come forward and give some sort of information to give us all closure. We all deserve that as a community. We all deserve closure.”

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