Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald

The Horror Story

The fairy tale became a horror story on the cold rainy morning of Tuesday, February 17, 1970.

Just after 3:30 a.m. an operator in Fayetteville, NC, got a call from a man who identified himself as Captain MacDonald, begging for her to call the military police and an ambulance to 544 Castle Drive.  "Stabbing," he said weakly.

She put the call through to the military police headquarters at Fort Bragg where Captain MacDonald repeated his plea to the desk sergeant.  "Help! 544 Castle Drive.  Stabbing. Hurry!"

The desk sergeant dispatched a number of MPs, but he could not get the base hospital to send an ambulance until the MPs had reached MacDonald's home and determined that the ambulance was absolutely necessary.

On the way to Castle Drive, Kenneth Mica, one of the MPs, saw a peculiar sight three blocks away from Captain MacDonald's home: a young woman in a raincoat and wide-brimmed floppy hat just standing there in the rain at 3:55 in the morning.  Had he not been in a hurry, he and his partner would have stopped to ask her what she was doing there.

It wasn't long before a dozen or more MPs were at the front door of the locked and darkened house.  They got in through the back entrance and immediately called the base hospital.

Inside the house in the master bedroom lay the lifeless form of twenty-six-year-old Colette.  She was sprawled out on her back, covered in blood with her legs spread.   Her face and head had been battered.  Part of her naked chest was exposed and the other part had been partially covered by a torn blue pajama top.

Next to her, with his head on her shoulder and his arm stretched across her body, was her husband, Jeffrey MacDonald, wearing only blue pajama bottoms.  Mica knelt down beside him and heard him ask, "How are my kids?  I heard them crying."

Mica bolted upright and ran into the other bedroom where he found five-year-old Kimberly in bed under the covers.  As he shined his flashlight closer to her, the sight sickened him.  Her head had been smashed and there were stab wounds on her neck.

Across the hall, two-year-old Kristen lay dead on her bed, covered in blood from the many stab wounds in her chest and back. 

Mica went back into the master bedroom and tried to revive Dr. MacDonald with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.  "I can't breathe.  I need a chest tube," he whispered and passed out.  Mica tried again to revive him and when he did, MacDonald pushed him away.  "F*** me, man, look to my wife!   Check my wife.  Check my kids."

Mica asked him who did this to them.  With labored breathing, MacDonald told him:   "Three men — a woman — one man was colored, he wore a field jacket, sergeant's stripes.  The woman, blond hair, floppy hat, short skirt, muddy boots — she carried a light, I think a candle."

Kenneth Mica told Lieutenant Joseph Paulk about the woman he and his partner had seen with the floppy hat so close to the murder scene.  "Don't you think we ought to send out a patrol?"  But the Lieutenant didn't seem to hear him.  He was furiously writing down everything that MacDonald was saying.

An ambulance arrived and they put him on a stretcher.  As they wheeled him down the hall, he suddenly grabbed the doorway to Kimberly's bedroom and tried to pull himself up off the stretcher.  "Goddamn MPs," he screamed.  "Let me see my kids!"

They fought him back and finally, he lay silent and exhausted on the stretcher as they wheeled him out into the early morning mist.

Police photo of MacDonald living room on the morning of the murder
Police photo of MacDonald living room on the morning of the murder



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