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Key evidence in the disappearance and death of millionaire Andreen McDonald

Andreen McDonald: A Millionaire Vanishes
Andreen McDonald: A Millionaire Vanishes 41:52

Millionaire business owner Andreen McDonald was known for her strict workout regimen. On the morning of March 1, 2019, when she didn't show up for work, her employees called the gym, which was her usual first stop in her morning routine. They found out she never showed up there either, which raised red flags. What happened to the San Antonio businesswoman, wife and mother?

The McDonalds

Andreen and Andre McDonald
Andreen McDonald, pictured with Andre McDonald, in front of a sign for Starlight Homes, their assisted living business in San Antonio. Instagram

Married couple Andreen and Andre McDonald were the picture of success. Andre McDonald was a major in the Air Force, and together, he and Andreen McDonald built an assisted living business from the ground up and became millionaires.

Feb. 16, 2019: Andre's 40th birthday party

Andre McDonald
Andre McDonald at his 40th birthday party. Instagram

For Andre McDonald's 40th birthday, Andreen McDonald threw him a party at their San Antonio home. According to friends, the couple seemed to be getting along.

Feb. 28, 2019

Andreen McDonald evidence
After a heated argument that evening, Andre McDonald says he left the house to cool off at that gas station.  Bexar County District Courts

According to Andre McDonald, during a meeting at a tax preparer's office, he discovered Andreen McDonald had opened a separate business without his knowledge. He later told police, when they got home a heated argument ensued. Andre McDonald said he left the house and went to a gas station to cool down. While there, the argument continued via text.

Revealing text messages

Andreen McDonald evidence
A text between the McDonalds. Bexar County District Courts

The couple argued about the business as well as alleged infidelity in the marriage, and even discussed the possibility of divorce. In one message, Andre McDonald texts, "Andreen I don't care if you file for divorce."

Andre McDonald said when he returned home, he thought his wife was sleeping in a separate bedroom.

March 1, 2019

Andreen McDonald evidence
A Bexar County sheriff's deputy discovered what he believed was blood on the wall and possibly a hair. Bexar County District Courts

When Andreen McDonald didn't show up to work the next morning, her friends and colleagues became concerned. They picked up Andreen McDonald's mother, Maureen Smith, from work and drove to the house. Smith called police and reported Andreen missing. 

When a Bexar County sheriff's deputy responded to the McDonald home, the group walked him through the house. The deputy noticed something disturbing: there was blood and hair on a light switch in the bathroom.

The burn pile

Andreen McDonald evidence
A zipper from Andreen McDonald's blouse was discovered in a  burn pile in the backyard. Bexar County District Courts

In the backyard, they discovered a burn pile. In it, a zipper was visible. The deputy also found that Andreen McDonald's purse, ID and keys were still at the house, but her phone was missing.

When Andre McDonald returned to his home to find law enforcement there, he claimed he did not know where his wife was but revealed they had an argument the night before. After an investigator arrived on the scene, Andre McDonald refused to speak further and requested an attorney.

March 2, 2019

Andreen McDonald evidence
Andre McDonald is seen at the checkout of a Lowes store. Two red gas cans can be seen on the counter. Bexar County District Courts

The next morning, surveillance video captured Andre McDonald in a Lowe's purchasing a cart full of items including a shovel and an ax.

March 2, 2019 - 2:00 p.m.

mcdonald-08.png
Surveillance video of Andre McDonald purchasing a 9mm handgun and ammunition. Bexar County District Courts

Later that day, an undercover investigator assigned to watch the McDonald house noticed that the garage had been damaged and saw Andre McDonald backing out of the driveway. The investigator followed him to a nearby gun shop where additional investigators, who were called to the scene, observed Andre McDonald purchasing a 9mm handgun and ammunition.

"We were under the assumption that he was purchasing a gun to probably harm himself," lead investigator Frank Stubbs told "48 Hours." 

Andre McDonald was detained as he walked from the store to his car. The investigators turned him over to military authorities for a mental evaluation.

Suspicious items

Andreen McDonald evidence
The items purchased  included a shovel and ax, as well as a hatchet, heavy-duty large trash bags, gloves and two 5-gallon gas cans. Bexar County District Courts

Meanwhile, investigators returned to the McDonald's house with a search warrant. They found the items Andre McDonald had purchased from Lowe's that morning which included that shovel and ax, as well as a hatchet, heavy-duty large trash bags, gloves and two 5-gallon gas cans. In a nearby trash can, they found a torn receipt for the items.

The shopping list

Andreen McDonald evidence
The handwritten shopping list Andre McDonald had on him when he was detained. It was not admitted as evidence at trial. Bexar County District Courts

Investigators would later obtain a handwritten shopping list Andre McDonald had on him when he was arrested. The list includes many of the items McDonald purchased from Lowe's. Stubbs told "48 Hours" it appeared Andre McDonald entered Lowe's with a sinister plan.

"It doesn't appear that he's going to do yard work … at least not with his wife missing," Stubbs told correspondent Peter Van Sant. "It appears to us that he's going to use these things to dismember her body …"

March 3, 2019

Andreen McDonald evidence
The torn receipt found at the McDonald house listing the items Andre McDonald had purchased from the hardware store. Bexar County District Courts

The following day, the Air Force concluded its evaluation of Andre McDonald and released himCivil authorities quickly moved in and placed him under arrest, but not for murder. He was arrested for tampering with evidence because of that torn up Lowe's receipt investigators found in the trash. In April 2019, Andre McDonald posted bond and was released.

July 11, 2019: Andreen McDonald's remains are found

Andreen McDonald
Andreen McDonald Facebook

After months of searches for Andreen McDonald, her remains were found in July 2019. Her skeletal remains were located in a field six miles from the McDonald home. Andre McDonald was arrested and charged with Andreen McDonald's murder. He pleaded not guilty to the charge.

January – February 2023: Andre McDonald on trial

Accused murderer Andre McDonald claims his wife could overpower him by 48 Hours on YouTube

It would be nearly four years before Andre McDonald had his day in court. On the sixth day of trial, he took the stand. Andre McDonald revealed in great detail what he says happened in the days surrounding Andreen McDonald's death. 


Andre McDonald's side of the story

Andreen McDonald evidence
The McDonald's bathroom where Andre McDonald said the fight with his wife took place. Bexar County District Courts

Andre McDonald testified that on the night of Feb. 28, after he returned home from the gas station, he and AndreenMcDonald did not go to separate bedrooms as he had previously told authorities. Instead, he said, the fight with his wife turned physical. 

According to Andre McDonald, Andreen McDonald began throwing punches. He says he grabbed her, tripped her and kicked her twice when she fell to the bathroom floor. Andre McDonald says his wife was wheezing, but he left her side to put their young daughter, Alayna, back to bed. He says he came back a half an hour later and Andreen McDonald was dead.

According to Andre McDonald, he then dumped Andreen McDonald's body in a field, stripped her naked and returned home and burned her clothing.

Returning to the scene

Andreen McDonald evidence
Bexar County District Courts

Andre McDonald also testified at trial that the following night, after investigators had left the house, he returned to the field where he had dumped Andreen McDonald's body.

"My plan was to hit the person that … caused this whole circumstance …" McDonald testified. He says he lit Andreen's body on fire and repeatedly hit her body with a hammer.

Andre also testified at trial that the following night, after investigators had left the house, he returned to the field where he had dumped Andreen's body.

The Lowe's haul

Andreen McDonald evidence
Andre McDonald seen on surveillance video leaving Lowes with his purchase. Bexar County District Courts

When Andre McDonald was questioned about those items he bought at Lowe's, he testified that he bought the items with the intent to dispose of Andreen McDonald's remains.

"I got up that morning with the intention of chopping the body up and set it on fire and burying the bones," Andre McDonald told the prosecution. However, he did not end up following through with this plan. Just hours after the trip to Lowe's, McDonald was arrested.

Andre McDonald's self-defense claim

Andre McDonald trial
At trial, the defense team showed videos of Andreen McDonald powerlifting and carrying Andre McDonald on her back to demonstrate that she was stronger than him. CBS News

At trial, Andre McDonald claimed that on the night of Andreen McDonald's death, he had acted in self-defense. His defense team showed videos of Andreen McDonald powerlifting and carrying Andre McDonald on her back to demonstrate that she was stronger than him.

The jurors deliberated for almost 12 hours. Two of the jurors told "48 Hours" no one believed Andre McDonald was innocent or that he acted in self-defense.

Feb. 3, 2023: A guilty verdict

Andre McDonald verdict
Andre McDonald was found guilty of manslaughter. CBS News

The jury found Andre McDonald not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison. 

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