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

Agency asking for tips from public on both cases

By Adrian Garcia - Digital Journalist, Ivan Herrera - Web Producer

SAN ANTONIO - UPDATE: Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said he was notified by the medical examiner's office that it is "pretty definite" that the charred skeletal remains found in the far west area of the county are not those of Andreen McDonald, who is still missing.

Salazar said the Homicide Unit notified McDonald’s family about what the medical examiner’s office determined.

“The search continues for Andreen. (The homicide unit) hasn’t slowed down one bit,” Salazar said.

Salazar said the remains found were charred and had been in the area for several weeks. He said the victim is believed to be a female who is between 5 feet, 2 inches and 5 feet, 4 inches tall.

The Sheriff’s Office doesn’t know the race or body build the victim had.

 “We need to try to identify this other victim and try to bring closure to another family that has yet to be identified,” he said.

Salazar said BCSO is reaching out to area law enforcement agencies to determine if any of them have a missing person case that might help connect the remains to any other cases.

Salazar said it may be months before the medical examiner determines who the remains belong to, but in the meantime, investigators will continue to look for evidence in both cases.

He said he has authorized an increase in the size of the Homicide Unit.

“This is not a small-town sheriff’s office. This is a large, metropolitan sheriff’s office with large, metropolitan issues. Certainly, this workload isn’t something anybody wants to take on, but we do owe it to the victims and their families to make sure we’re handling their cases as efficiently and expediently as possible,” Salazar said.

The Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information about the remains or McDonald’s case to come forward and call 210-335-6070 or email BCSOtips@bexar.org.

(Previously)

The Bexar County Sheriff's Office said it hopes to have the investigation into the discovery of burned human remains wrapped up sooner rather than later.

During a Friday morning press conference, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said he hopes the Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office is able to shed some light some time in the next 24 hours on the remains found Thursday afternoon in far West Bexar County.

WATCH: Sheriff Salazar's Friday morning press conference

During the early morning and throughout the day, search crews continued their efforts combing through the brush in the area where the remains were found.

Salazar said investigators are searching for any possible clues as to what happened and who may have been responsible for the vicious killing.

The FBI's crime scene investigation team joined forces with BCSO and the Bexar County Fire Marshal's Office in the search, Salazar said. 

A passerby notified the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office Thursday afternoon after finding what were described by a spokesman as remains "burnt beyond recognition" in an area of brush off Highway 211 between Culebra and Bandera roads.

Deputy Johnny Garcia, a public information officer for BCSO, said the remains are basically bones and that investigators are not sure yet of the gender of the person.

The medical examiner’s office took custody of the findings.

Sheriff’s investigators, meanwhile, searched the area shortly after the gruesome discovery with the help of cadaver dogs and a drone.

Upon hearing the news, people who have been helping in the search for missing mother and businesswoman Andreen McDonald showed up at the scene Thursday night.

The 29-year-old far North Bexar County resident disappeared from her home last month under suspicious circumstances.

Her 40-year-old husband, Andre McDonald, is considered a suspect in her disappearance and potential murder, although so far he has been charged only with tampering with evidence.

He was released from jail earlier this week after a judge lowered his bond from $2 million to $300,000. 

“I think this is her,” said Melinda Pennell, one of the volunteer organizers of several community searches for Andreen McDonald. “This is going to be good closure for the family. The circumstances I don’t like. I mean, to find a burned body, who does that? It’s just beyond inhumane.”

Salazar he is hopeful that Andreen McDonald is found, although it’s too early to tell if the remains are hers.

He said it could take weeks or even months before forensics tests are complete.

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