Gordon D. Schultz could face up to life in prison for his alleged role in the murder of Fremont Township resident Becky Sue MacDonald.
Schultz, McDonald’s former boyfriend, was arraigned Thursday afternoon on the charge of open murder in November 2005. Schultz’s preliminary exam is scheduled for at 9 a.m. May 3 at the Isabella County Court House.
A 17-month investigation led to the uncovering of MacDonald’s body in Edenville Township in northwest Midland County.
Law enforcement officials had become aware after several months that Schultz allegedly made some comments about doing harm to or killing MacDonald’s daughter, Terrie Thrush.
An undercover Michigan State Police officer, Detective Sgt. William Eberhardt, made contact with Schultz to question him about the threatening comments on several occasions.
“On Jan. 22, we had the last contact with him, and at the conclusion of those contacts, he was able to assist local law enforcement as to the possible location of Becky MacDonald’s body,” said Isabella County Prosecutor Larry Burdick.
Police discovered MacDonald’s body using the information.
“The conclusion was that she died by homicide, and we would not be able to, as a result of that autopsy, determine specifically the manner in which she died,” Burdick said.
Testimony before disappearance
Schultz had been in an on-off relationship with MacDonald for several years, during which he was convicted for domestic violence against MacDonald on three separate occasions. His third offense resulted in his incarceration into the Southern Michigan Correctional Facility in Jackson.
MacDonald testified against Schultz on Oct. 27, 2005, for the third conviction and disappeared 15 days later. MacDonald’s daughter reported her missing Nov. 14, 2005.
Schultz was relocated from Jackson to Isabella County jail for his arraignment Thursday afternoon, which was conducted by video, so he could see and hear what was being said to him by Isabella County Trial Judge Mark H. Duthie.
“In addition to being charged for open murder in Isabella County, Mr. Schultz is also being charged in Jackson County with prime solicitation to murder relative to his alleged actions to kill Terrie Thrush,” Burdick said in a press conference before the arraignment. “If it is impossible to determine where the murder occurred, we do not know where Becky MacDonald was killed, but we do know where she was when she was last seen.”
Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski said Schultz was returned to Jackson on Thursday after his arraignment.
Schultz will have a lawyer assigned to him by the court.
According to a press release from the prosecuting attorney’s office, the investigation was conducted by a task force compiled by Mioduszewski that was composed of officers from several local departments, including the FBI, Michigan State Police, Mount Pleasant Police Department and CMU Police Department.
Mioduszewski said he was glad an arrest was made in the case.
“All of the detectives followed every lead that came in from the community,” he said.