February 2, 2015

The MacDonald Case: Resuscitation Attempts

If you know the basic facts about the MacDonald case, you know that old Jeff was a doctor.  He worked in Emergency Services at St. Mary's Hospital in Long Beach during the mid-70s and by all accounts, he was a good surgeon.  I'm not disputing that because I think Mac probably did well with people who were unconscious or dead. 

He was also an M.D. while he was a Captain in the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Bragg when his family was butchered.  It's part of what makes the case, and his tale, interesting.

To wit . . . MacDonald claims that he performed CPR on his wife and daughters, that he tried desperately to revive them before placing the call for help to the emergency operator (this was in the days prior to 9-1-1).  It would make sense, no?  For anyone but especially someone who is trained in administering medical care.

Here are the problems.

First, the positions of the victims.  Both children were found lying on their sides.  You may think it's not a big deal but if you're performing CPR, you want the person receiving CPR to be flat on their backs.  So if MacDonald attempted to revive his daughters, why weren't they found on their backs? 

Second, when performing CPR you want to do so on a flat, rigid surface.  So someone trained in how to resuscitate an individual would know to move the individual from a "giving" surface like a bed to the floor.  Both little girls were found in their beds.  

Thirdly, if MacDonald was attempting to save his family members, why didn't he turn on any lights?  When the MPs arrived, all three bedrooms were dark.  None of the lamps or light switches had been turned on.  Nor did MacDonald mention turning the lights on during his efforts.  Wouldn't any parent going to check on the welfare of their child, especially a grievously injured child, turn on a light to see exactly what was wrong?  How could MacDonald even know what was ailing his children if he was going into a dark room?  How could he see a knife protruding from his wife's chest (his account) if the master bedroom was cloaked in darkness?  No blood drops or swipes of blood were found on the switches themselves or the walls near the switches, which should have been the case had MacDonald flipped lights on after handling a body or two.

I don't recall reading that it was noted that MacDonald had any blood on or about his mouth.  Why is this an issue?  Well, Colette and Kimberley MacDonald had horrific head injuries; both were bludgeoned, resulting in their heads and faces being covered in blood.  If MacDonald did give them CPR, wouldn't that blood have transferred to his mouth and/or face? 

And finally, the timeline.  MacDonald claimed to have made attempts to revive his family before checking on his own wounds and washing his hands in the bathroom (really?) and then calling for help the first time.  There was a two minute gap in between his first call and second, during which he claimed to have checked all his family members for signs of life, possibly checked his own wounds again and washed his hands yet again and checked out the back door for signs of the intruders.  Two minutes is a very short period of time.  Even if you only spent thirty seconds on each family member (which is very perfunctory in my jaded opinion) that only leaves thirty seconds to check out the back door and then check your own wounds, possibly washing up again.  And we all know that MacDonald was and is all about MacDonald so not nearly enough time on himself.  But clearly also not enough time to perform all those acts he said he did. The time of the calls is not in question so that leaves us with the theory that MacDonald is lying.

I don't believe he performed CPR on his family for all the above reasons.  And if he was a victim, if he had nothing to do with the murders, wouldn't he?  Especially given that he was a doctor.  Yes, the victims were his family but wouldn't he automatically go into "doctor mode"?  Wouldn't he lift his children off their beds to do CPR?  Wouldn't he turn the lights on to treat them to begin with? 

This part of MacDonald's account simply doesn't add up. 

What do you think?


  1. Hello Lori.

    A very interesting article. I agree that there is absolutely NO doubt that MacDonald was lying on just about everything, and that the physical evidence - particularly the blood and pyjama fibres, and the ice pick holes in the PJ top - make him guilty beyond any possible (NOT 'reasonable') doubt.

    He talked himself into a corner by opening his mouth before he knew the extent of the physical evidence.

    But that is where this case gets REALLY interesting.

    If - somehow - he HAD known all the evidence (blood typing, locations etc.) BEFORE he had made any statement to the investigating officers, COULD he have 'manufactured' a story that actually fitted those facts?

    The answer is - probably - "No".

    Can YOU ? We often play 'The MacDonald Game', to see if we can come up with an explanation that exonerates MacDonald.

    We have never succeeded !

    If you can somehow manufacture a possible scenario that fits all the facts, then please tell me about it ?

    I believe that it is impossible that MacDonald DIDN'T do it ! (or assist)

    Throw the challenge out to your friends.

    My name is KK Brown. I am in Hampshire (UK).

    My e-mail is


  2. Hello again, Lori,

    If you will give me an e-mail contact number, I will send you a summary of 'The MacDonald Game'. I tried to load it on here, but it was far too long !!!!


  3. Hello KK -

    Thank you for your comments.

    I have never thought about if MacDonald had known all the facts, could he have created a story that fit. I'm not sure that he could have.

    Assuming that he would still have stabbed Colette through his pajama top, his only bet would have been to destroy the top. Could he have? Possibly, given that investigators allowed the trash to be taken out and disposed of.

    He should have taken more care with the crime scene. His staging efforts were pathetic. Given that no blood or fibers were found in the living room, knowing the facts, he should have changed his story to say that he was attacked in the master bedroom.

    He could have changed his story that it was Kimberley that wet the bed and not insisted it was Kristen.

    The biggest obstacle to overcome was the extreme brutality inflicted upon his family. Could he have told the investigators that the intruders slaughtered his family as some kind of punishment, to hurt him and left him alive and relatively untouched for the same reasons? Maybe.

    But the weapons came from the residence. He had put each bloody weapon down on the bathmat as he used them on Colette. Colette and Kimberley had been picked up and carried back to their respective bedrooms. No mud had been tracked in by any intruders (and it was a rainy night.) The intruders didn't take any drugs out of the hall closet or MacDonald's wallet off the desk, which was later taken by the ambulance driver.

    So . . . no, I don't think he could have fit a plausible story to the evidence.

    You can send me a summary of the MacDonald Game to lorihedgpeth (at) gmail (dot) com.

    Thanks again for responding!