Trial set for Air Force major accused of killing wife and torching her body


USAF Major Andre McDonald and his wife Andreen McDonald.

Elizabeth Zavala

San Antonio Express-News

Oct. 19—SAN ANTONIO — A January trial date has been set for Maj. Andre Sean McDonald, 43, an Air Force Reserve officer charged with murder and tampering with evidence in the February 2019 disappearance of his wife.

By the time the trial begins Jan. 17, it will be close to four years since his client was first arrested, McDonald’s attorney, John A. Convery, said.

The coronavirus pandemic delayed it and many other proceedings, closing courts for 13 months after March 2020. Convery said defense lawyers were responsible for just one of several resets and postponements and “it has been too long.”

He said state District Judge Frank Castro was going to set the trial for November but the state was not ready. The Bexar County District Attonrey’s Office declined to comment on the pending case.

Andreen Nicole McDonald, a San Antonio businesswoman, was 29 when she was reported missing March 1, 2019, when she didn’t show up at work. Relatives and friends told deputies checking her home that they suspected foul play.

Her cars, purse, identification and keys were at the home. When Andre McDonald arrived, he told deputies his wife was being treated at a Baptist Emergency Hospital facility — though officials there said she was not a patient — and he later said he did not know where she was, according to reports. He then asked for an attorney when a sheriff’s investigator asked to speak to him.

Telephone records indicate his cellphone and that of his wife were at their home on the evening of Feb. 28, but Andreen McDonald’s phone stopped appearing on a cellular network after 9 p.m. that night. It was never found. Her husband’s phone appears to have not been used or moved from the area near their home that night, but at 6:30 a.m. the next morning it appeared back on the cellular network.

The case drew hundreds of people to volunteer in search efforts to find Andreen McDonald. Relatives described her as a doting mother to the couple’s autistic daughter who began a successful assisted living business when she was 22, and ran two locations in San Antonio.

Andre McDonald was arrested March 3, 2019, on the tampering charge. He was later released on a $300,000 bond that had been reduced from $2 million, according to court records, then rearrested and charged with murder on July 13, 2019, the day his wife’s skeletal remains were found on a ranch east of Camp Bullis.

He has been free since Nov. 12, 2021 when he posted a $200,000 bond, which had been lowered from $2 million. He remains under partial house arrest and GPS monitoring and is allowed to work as a cyberwarfare operations officer assigned to the 426th Network Warfare Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

The search for Andreen McDonald lasted more than four months and ended just six miles from where the couple lived in northern Bexar County near the Timberwood Park area. Her remains were found by chance, covered by wood and bones from a dead cow, then set on fire, and had to be identified using dental records, Bexar County Sheriff’s Office officials have said.

The Sheriff’s Office has not said how Andreen McDonald was killed.

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McDonald told investigators that he and his wife fought the night before she disappeared. Reports indicate law enforcement previously had been called to their upscale home for domestic disturbances. Andre McDonald filed for divorce in February 2017, but dropped the petition several months later.

Shortly after she disappeared, his wife’s blood was found on a hammer and a pair of men’s jeans that were located inside the couple’s home, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. A light switch in the master bathroom was found to have blood and hair, and additional blood was found on the bathroom door and floor.

Evidence of burning was found in the back yard. Investigators also discovered that Andre McDonald had purchased a shovel, an ax, a hatchet, large plastic bags, gloves, and a couple of 5-gallon gas cans two days after his wife disappeared, the affidavit said.

The Air Force said a statement posted late last year by Lt. Col. Timothy Wade, the service’s chief of public affairs, still applies — McDonald is serving a reservist tour that began in 2018 and pending results of the trial, “any possible disciplinary actions will be taken at the appropriate time.”

“We take the health, safety and well-being of all of our citizen airmen and their families very seriously, and we are all working closely with base and local authorities on this matter,” Wade said in the statement. “We are also keeping the entire family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

If convicted, McDonald faces up to life in prison.

Staff writer Sig Christenson contributed to this report.


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