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


katfish said...

Wow,some people are downright evil. Please update us when you get answers to any of the questions that remain.
I would bet my last dollar Mrs. McDonald was on the receiving end of some sort of monthly check such as...disability, pension with Mr. McDonald had coming in or perhaps just $$ in the bank. Money isn't always a motive but.....

Anakerie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anakerie said...

Ugh.. I hate it when I hit the wrong thing.. Mouse jumped and I deleted my own comment! lol

Anyway, I'll be sure to do an update when I hear more about the story. I'm sure the local paper will be giving more info.. At least I hope so! lol