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Air Force Major’s wife is missing — and he bought an ax and ‘burn barrel,’ Texas cops say

Sheriff: Air Force dad had gear to get rid of missing wife’s body

Air Force Major Andre McDonald, 40, of San Antonio, was arrested in connection with the disappearance of his wife Andreen Nicole McDonald, 29 and charged with tampering with evidence by the Bexar County Sheriff's Office.
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Air Force Major Andre McDonald, 40, of San Antonio, was arrested in connection with the disappearance of his wife Andreen Nicole McDonald, 29 and charged with tampering with evidence by the Bexar County Sheriff's Office.

Buying a shovel, an ax, two five-gallon drums of gasoline, work gloves, heavy duty trash bags and what police call a “burn barrel” is not illegal — not even if your wife happens to be missing at the time you bought those things.

But police say Andre McDonald, 40, bought all that gear Saturday, after friends reported his wife, Andreen Nicole McDonald, missing a day earlier. Then he tried to destroy the receipt for those items to conceal the timing and whereabouts of his purchase, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar told reporters Sunday.

“We believe that Andreen McDonald is no longer living,” Salazar told reporters Sunday.

Andre McDonald has been charged with tampering with evidence in connection with his wife’s death, according to jail records. A bond amount for McDonald was not listed.

Andreen McDonald told a friend something haunting before she went missing Friday: “that if she ever disappeared, it would be because her husband had killed her,” according to court documents obtained Monday by the San Antonio Express News.

Investigators with the sheriff’s office had been tailing Andre McDonald Saturday, Salazar said, after the missing persons report came in Friday, according to the San Antonio Express News. Andreen McDonald, 29, never showed up to work that day, and did not return to her home in far north Bexar County, KENS reported.

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Bexar County Sheriff's Office

“(Andre McDonald) left the house and went to a gun shop, purchased a gun and a lot of ammunition, in fact,” Salazar told reporters after McDonald’s arrest Sunday. “They intercepted him as he was leaving the gun shop. At some point there it looked like he got spooked, so much so that he left his gun and his identification behind at the gun shop.”

Police had already searched McDonald’s home once before, but on Saturday, Salazar’s office executed a second search warrant at his house and found “a shovel, an ax, some heavy duty trash bags, some work gloves, two five-gallon containers of gasoline and a burn pit, or burn barrel,” Salazar said.

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Bexar County Sheriff's Office

“In conducting the search of the residence, we found a receipt wherein fact he had earlier in the day purchased those items that we had found,” he continued. “Quite a bit of effort went into destroying that receipt to try to prevent us from seeing where it was purchased and when it was purchased, so that led us to obtain a warrant of arrest for Andre McDonald for the charge of tampering with evidence, which is a felony charge.”

Authorities walked a handcuffed Andre McDonald to the Bexar County Magistrate’s office Sunday evening, according to video obtained by KSAT. When asked to comment on his arrest, he told the station, “I love my daughter. I love my family. That’s it.”

Salazar said the couple’s 6-year-old daughter, who McDonald referenced, is on the autism spectrum and is “mostly nonverbal.”

“One of the most heartbreaking aspects of this case is at the center of this is a 6-year-old girl who for all intents and purposes just lost two parents,” Salazar told reporters. “To us, it’s pretty evident that she saw something. She saw what happened to her mom, and that’s the most heartbreaking part of this case.”

Salazar said his office would push for a higher-than-usual bail amount in Andre McDonald’s case, and that if he is bonded out of jail, he will be confined to his home with a GPS monitor.

Authorities are still looking for Andreen McDonald’s body. Because Andre McDonald is an active member — a Major — in the U.S. Air Force, military authorities and the FBI are also involved in her husband’s case.

Matt is an award-winning real time reporter and a University of Texas at Austin graduate who’s been based at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 2011. His regional focus is Texas, and that makes sense. He’s only lived there his whole life.
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