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.
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.
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