Sheriff: Daughter who has autism witnessed 'something' in mom's disappearance

    (Photo: Bexar County Sheriff's Office)

    It’s been five days since Andreen McDonald went missing.

    Detectives with the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office believe her husband, Andre McDonald, has a role in her disappearance, and their 6-year-old daughter, who has autism, may have seen what happened to her mom.

    Investigators believe a Andreen is a victim of foul play, and Andre McDonald remains behind bars and is charged with evidence tampering.

    “Honestly the indicators are that she witnessed something and it’s something that no kid should have to witness,” said Sheriff Javier Salazar Tuesday before more than 160 volunteers searched areas around the McDonald's home.

    A local autism expert said it could be incredibly difficult to find out what the girl may have seen.

    “I would imagine it would be nearly impossible to be able to get information related to a crime time that someone who cannot communicate may have witnessed,” said Jessica Graber, PhD, BCBA.

    Graber is the clinical director for the Autism Treatment Center in San Antonio.

    Treating trauma from what the girl may have experienced could also prove to be huge challenge.

    “What is really scary scary for individuals that have been through trauma and have autism, is it might not be seen and they might not get the services that they need,” Graber said.

    Sheriff Salazar said the girl is with Andreen’s family now and Dr. Graber says that’s exactly where she needs to be.

    “That child needs to be in a very safe environment where there’s a lot of love and nurturing and that’s the most important thing,” Graber said.

    The Sheriff’s Office is expecting to organize more search parties Thursday morning.

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