Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Body Parts Mystery ~ New Update

The local paper issued an update on the "body parts" case this afternoon.  They finally brought Michael Gold down to Sutter County from the Josephine County jail in Oregon.  Gold was was booked Monday into Sutter County Jail on a murder charge in connection with the body parts that were found in Sutter and Sacramento counties starting in November, last year. 

Arraignment is scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday, June 30th) in Sutter County Superior Court. He is the stepson of the murder victim, Elmer McDonald.  McDonald's wife, Lela Kathryn McDonald is charged only as an accessory to the crime at this time.  Both are being held at this time today in Sutter County Jail on $250,000 bail each.

Investigators seem to believe that the murder happened at Lela and Elmer McDonald's mobile home in West Sacramento.  Elmer's arms, head and a leg were found at or near Beer Can Beach in Sutter County, while his torso was found in the river in Sacramento County.  Law enforcement first encountered Michael Gold near Beer Can Beach back in November, just days before the leg was found. 

I still have a lot of questions about this case and I'm hoping that as time goes on some of them will be answered.  One big question I have right now has to do with jurisdiction.  If Elmer McDonald was murdered by Michael Gold in West Sacramento, wouldn't the murder case be "theirs"?  There are three different counties involved in this case: 
  • Yolo County, which is where Elmer McDonald lived and allegedly was murdered.
  • Sacramento County, where the torso was found.
  • Sutter County, where a leg, two arms and a head was found. 
Can someone explain how they work the jurisdiction thing when a crime is spread around multiple counties?

I'll update again if more information becomes available.

Previous blog posts on the case:
Body Parts on a Beach? Mystery time!
Body Parts ~ Mystery Solved?
Body Parts ~ Mystery Update

News Sources:
Appeal Democrat ~ UPDATE: Body parts suspect booked on murder charge
CBS 13 ~ Sutter Co. Body Parts Suspect Facing Murder Charge

Monday, June 14, 2010

Melissa Huckaby Sentenced ~ Life in Prison, NO Parole

Melissa Huckaby, the "Sunday school teacher" who was accused of the kidnapping, rape and murder (among other charges) of Sandra Cantu (See photo on the left.) was sentenced this morning.  The judge gave her a sentence of "life with no parole" for the murder and kidnapping charges.  Huckaby was facing the death penalty until she and her attorneys negotiated a plea deal.  A plea deal that eliminated the rape charges, the sexual battery as well as the charges that she drugged another child  and a man that Melisssa had dated.  Sandra was found days later, stuffed into a suitcase (which belonged to Melissa) and floating in a settling pond on a nearby dairy farm.  Since hearing the sentencing this morning, and then reading some of the details that have been released since the gag order was lifted, I've struggled with the writing of this blog entry.  I can fully understand now why the judge ordered everything sealed and put the gag order on everyone.

Quick change of subject....  I'm sure, if you've followed the case, you know what Melissa looked like when she was boohooing at one of the first hearings before the gag order went into place.  Yep, there she is over on the left.  I was shocked to see her in the live video that one of the local stations streamed this morning.  When I first saw her, I hardly recognized her.  The picture on the right is her this morning.   Either she's been eating very well in jail or the meds that she's supposedly on now are making her obese.

As I sat here listening to Melissa "apologize" for what she did I became disgusted with her.  According to her, she doesn't know why she did what she did.  I think she needs to figure that part out.  But then she's got the rest of her life, in prison to do that, I guess.  The part that really got me was when she apologized to Sandra's mother and had the nerve to say that Sandra didn't suffer and that she didn't sexually molest the little girl.  Sandra didn't suffer?  I guess she thinks that the little girl didn't suffer because she drugged her with a generic Xanax tranquilizer!   She didn't molest the girl?  Wait a minute.  The reason the gag order was put on everyone and the reason for the seals on all the documents was because the details of the molestation were too "inflammatory"!  The documents have been unsealed now.  The evidence is out there in the news now.  A torn piece of cloth tied around Sandra's head, a noose.  Lacerations on Sandra's mouth.  Lacerations on Sandra's genitals that match the handle of a rolling pin that was found at the church where Melissa taught Sunday School.  A rolling pin that still had blood smears on it! I can't say anymore.  The information is in the links below or in the articles written by other news organizations.  Google will bring lots of links...

 Melissa "apologized".  Yeah.  Right.  Melissa cried.  For herself.

Rest in peace, Sandra.  Your murderer will die in prison.  My heart goes out to Sandra's family.  The horror of what happened to their precious daughter is out there in the public eye.  But the public eye will move on to the next sensational case and they will hopefully be able to live a relatively "normal" life.  Unfortunately, a life without a beautiful little girl named Sandra.  I hope they will be able to find some peace of mind now that Melissa will be locked away and never be allowed to harm another person.

My Previous Post about Sandra: Celebration of Life for Sandra Cantu
News 10:Melissa Huckaby gets life sentence without parole; apologizes to Sandra Cantu's family
Fox40:  Huckaby Ordered To Life In Prison, Restitution For Kidnap, Murder Of Sandra Cantu
San Francisco Chronicle: Prosecutors give details of Sandra Cantu killing

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Body Parts ~ Mystery Update

I promised in a comment on yesterday's post that I would update if I found out more information about this case.  Well, this morning's local paper, the Appeal Democrat has more information... Not much, but it's "more".  I also found more information on one of the Sacramento TV stations that are considered "local" for our area.  I'll post links to the articles at the bottom of the post again.  The authorities still haven't said how or even when Mr. McDonald died, nor are they saying whether or not murder charges will be filed.  We're still in a "wait and see" mode on that.  We can guess at the time of Mr. McDonald's death, but guesses aren't going to get the investigators anywhere.  They need the facts and the evidence to back up the facts.

Lela McDonald is in Sutter County Jail, her bail has been set at $250,000. Her arraignment is set for Monday morning.  Ms. McDonald is an unemployed in-home care aide.  Her charges so far are "being an accessory to a felony" and "destruction of evidence". McDonald also allegedly transported methamphetamine, possessed a controlled substance and was under its influence when she was arrested.  I can't find anything stating that she has drug charges against her yet, but who knows, that could be coming in the not too distant future.

Michael Gold, as far as I can tell, is still in the Josephine County Jail in Oregon.  The article in the local paper doesn't say when he'll be brought back to Sutter County. Extradition is "pending", according to one of the articles I read this  morning.

According to an affidavit acquired by News 10, the investigators believe that a reciprocating saw was used to dismember Elmer McDonald's body in the mobile home that he and Lela McDonald shared in West Sacramento.  Back when all the body parts kept turning up down near Beer Can Beach, the deputies who searched the area also found a number of rusty reciprocating saw blades and a four-inch folding knife.  The torso that was discovered separately down-river in Sacramento County on February 26th had eight stab wounds.

Today's articles are saying now that when Michael Gold was stopped for that broken license plate light back in November the deputy noted that Gold was soaking wet and that one of his hands was bloody. It is also noted that the deputy stopped Gold just before midnight on November 15th.  Today's information also says that Gold had no fishing gear in his pick-up truck, so the story of looking for a fishing spot didn't add up.  The presence of the black plastic bags and the rope is still there in the stories...

Somehow, after the body parts began showing up, the investigators again looked at Gold.  They became suspicious when it was discovered that Gold's stepfather hadn't been seen at the mobile home where he and Lela McDonald lived in West Sacramento.  The investigators sought out a relative of Elmer and obtained a DNA sample which led to the identification of the remains.  After identifying the remains, the investigators got a search warrant on April 5th and searched the mobile home on the following day.  The search turned up the blood evidence and also evidence that someone had attempted to cover up the crime.  The landlord of the mobile home told the investigators that Lela McDonald had informed him that she'd replaced some carpet and repainted some walls due to a small fire that she was able to put out by herself.  The other piece of incriminating evidence was also given to the investigators by the landlord.  He said that Elmer McDonald had always paid the rent by check since moving there in 2003.  He said that Lela McDonald had suddenly started paying the rent in November.

The News 10 article states that the investigators are seeking witnesses who might help directly link the pair to McDonald's death.  So if any of my readers are in Sacramento and can give any help to the investigators, please give the Sutter County Sheriff's office a call at 530-822-7307 or leave a tip at www.suttersheriff.org.

Appeal Democrat: Woman to be arraigned in Beer Can Beach body parts case
News 10: Cops believe West Sacramento man was butchered in his mobile home

Friday, June 11, 2010

Body Parts ~ Mystery Solved?

Back on April 1st, I put a post up that was about the finding of body parts in and around the local rivers.  (The original blog entry is here: Body Parts on a Beach? Mystery time!)  The body parts  hit the local news headlines again yesterday afternoon.  The investigators have made 2 arrests and have identified the person who all those body parts belonged to.   The victim was 60 year-old Elmer McDonald, formerly of West Sacramento. 
First of all, a bit of a timeline:
  • November 22nd: A severed leg in a plastic bag was found in Southern Sutter County.
  • December 11th: A report of a body floating in the river, well south of Beer Can Beach was reported. The boat patrol did not find the body.
  • February 26th: A torso was found floating in the Sacramento River, near where the Feather River joins the Sacramento River.
  • March 13th: Two arms, each in their own plastic bag, were found at a popular Feather River spot called Beer Can Beach.
  • March 14th: A head, wrapped in a plastic bag was found at Beer Can Beach.
  • April 1st: The Sheriff announced that the leg and the torso had matching DNA.
On with the story now.  Today, the papers are reporting that the Sutter County Sheriff, J. Paul Parker announced that yesterday, Michael Shaine Dwayne Gold, 39, was arrested in Grants Pass, Ore., by Grants Pass police and Sutter County detectives.  Then, a few hours later the wife of Elmer McDonald, Lela Kathryn McDonald, 57, was arrested at her West Sacramento home.  Gold is the son of Lela McDonald and the step-son of the victim.

The sheriff's deputies first came across Gold back on November 15th, when he was seen in the Beer Can Beach area with bloody hands. He told a deputy that he'd fallen while looking for a fishing spot and injured his hands. The deputy observed that Gold had fishing gear, rope and plastic bags in the back of his pick-up truck and questioned him briefly, gave him a warning for broken license plate light and let him go on his way.

The articles give no real details on how they found out that the victim was Mr. McDonald, but the media is saying that the Sheriff's department is saying that they searched McDonald's home earlier this year (No idea when!) and found a large amount of dried blood. The articles also don't say how they figured out that Mr. McDonald was a "missing person", nor do they say what evidence they had to get a search warrant for the home.  Perhaps a tip from a friend of his after his description was broadcast back in April?  They also said that Lela McDonald had not reported her husband missing, so she wasn't the one giving the tip about the identity of all the body parts.  Arrest warrants for the two were issued three weeks ago, and I'm guessing the fact that Mrs. McDonald didn't report her husband missing along with all the blood evidence they found gave good cause for the warrants.

Both McDonald and Gold are charged with destruction of evidence and being an accessory to a felony. Gold also was charged with removal of a body without the authorization of a coroner. Murder charges have not been filed. (Yet?) Lela McDonald was booked into Sutter County Jail. Gold would be transported from Oregon to Yuba City soon. I'm guessing that arraignment dates and bail will be coming shortly.

Mystery solved?  Not for me.  I still have a lot of questions about this case, and I'm hoping that as time goes on the answers will be coming in future articles about it.  How did Elmer McDonald die?  How did his blood get all over his home?  Why did his body get cut up and scattered along the river? Who was Elmer McDonald?

Appeal Democrat: Two people arrested in Beer Can Beach body parts case
Channel 13: Mother, Son Arrested In Sutter Co. Body Parts Case
Sacramento Bee: 2 arrests after body parts found by Calif. river
The Medford Mail Tribune: Mom arrested in body parts case; body was her husband's

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

MAN BELLIES AGAIN !!! Coming soon!

I just got an email from Pat informing us when the next " Man Bellies and Hairy Backs Car Wash" will be!
Same place on Sunday, July 11th.!
I'm jazzed!!! I've had such a good time each time we've done it. I will be there again, God willing.
Anyone close enough to come, SHOULD!!! Let them know where you heard about it too!
It's been a pay what you can offering so if you're short on cash and have to put more in your tank to get there... Love to see ya there!
Any men out there that would like to participate I'll post hours later. I think last year we started around 9 or 10 and wrapped up about 3. Just show up and (again) mentioned where you heard about it!
Don't matter how big, small, tall, short, round, scarred, tanned, tattooed, maimed or ( if you get the gist) whatever, come and get involved!
We are doing this to support "Kacie's Ride for Hope to End Domestic Violence" and seriously want people to know that we want to END VIOLENCE IN RELATIONSHIPS !
Food and refreshments will be supplied for those involved. Bring anything you'ld like to contribute.
I want to give directions for those who are thinking about it. From Sacramento, go east on Hwy 50 towards Tahoe. After you pass El Dorado Hills, Cameron Park and Shingle Springs, coming into Placerville. Take the Placerville Drive exit, just past Missouri Flat Rd. At the stop sign turn right to circle back over the freeway. Then straight through the signals until you see the El Dorado County Fairgrounds on the right. We will be across the street on the left at Breaker Glass.
We usually make enough comotion to be noticed! I don't think you'll miss us.
Kacie's Ride for Hope supports the "Center for Violence Free Relationships." at www.thecenternow.org
Our website is at http://www.kaciesrideforhope.com/KaciesRideForHope.com/Home.html if you would like to see and learn more about our ride and efforts to bring an END TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE!

Here's a copy of the email Pat sent me:

Hey fellow bellies
The car wash is going to be the Sunday 11th of July at breaker glass,
We'll be BBQing dogs and such and washing cars.
So all that would like to help out with the wash this year it is a fun but tiring day.
I appreciate all the help from the past years, and hope you would be into again.
Let me know if you can participate.
See last years car wash here http://anakerie.blogspot.com/2010/04/2009-man-bellies-hairy-backs-car-wash.html
Thank You

Love to see you there !!!