Madison McDonald is the Texas mother who walked into a police station on April 5 and confessed that she had killed her two young daughters. The Irving Police Department said McDonald was arrested and charged with capital murder.
Police spokesman Officer Robert Reeves identified the two children as Lillian Mae McDonald, who would have turned 2 in May, and 6-year-old Archer Hammond.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. McDonald Admitted She Smothered Her Daughters
McDonald arrived at the Irving Police Department on April 5 around 10 p.m. Officer Reeves explained during a news conference, which WFAA-TV made available on YouTube, that no one works at the front desk at night. But there is a phone in the lobby that people can use to call for help.
Reeves said McDonald used the lobby phone to dial 911 and told the dispatcher that she had killed her two daughters. He described her demeanor as “very calm” as all of this played out.
Reeves explained that officers immediately responded to McDonald’s home at the Anthem Apartments located on Cowboys Parkway. After forcing the door open, with the help of the Irving Fire Department, they found the two children dead inside the apartment.
McDonald claimed she had smothered the children. But police said the medical examiner’s office would determine the cause of death.
2. McDonald Claimed the Girls Were Being Abused & She ‘Eliminated’ Them to ‘Protect’ Them, According to the Affidavit
When asked for a motive for the killings, Reeves did not speculate. He told reporters they are working to determine a motive but added, “There’s not going to be a definition or reason that would ever justify the murder of two small children.”
But according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by local TV stations KXAS-TV and KTVT-TV, McDonald suggested to investigators that she felt she was “protecting” her children by ending their lives. She explained she sedated them and tucked them into their beds before smothering them.
McDonald claimed her daughters were “being abused,” the outlets reported. She stressed that she “would do anything to protect” them and that included the drastic step of “eliminating them.” Heavy has reached out to the Irving Police Department for a copy of the affidavit.
3. Police Said They Had Been Called to McDonald’s Home Before & Child Protective Services Was Aware of the Family
McDonald lived at the apartment on Cowboys Parkway alone with her two daughters. Officer Reeves said there were no witnesses and clarified that McDonald was the only adult living at the home. Dallas County court records suggest McDonald filed for divorce in September 2020.
Reeves revealed during the April 6 news conference that officers had responded to McDonald’s home in the past. But he declined to share any details about what those calls had been about due to privacy protocols.
KDFW-TV reported that Child Protective Services confirmed the agency has a “history with the family.” No other details were disclosed.
It’s unclear how many times police had been to McDonald’s home. But Reeves added that the number of domestic violence calls had risen amid the coronavirus pandemic. He stressed that if anyone is aware of a dangerous situation or suspects violence, to “be an advocate” and call law enforcement.
4. McDonald Is Charged With Capital Murder & Could Face Life In Prison Or Even the Death Penalty
McDonald was booked into the Irving City Jail and denied bail. Reeves said she would be transferred to the Dallas County Jail as the case proceeds. As of this writing, it was not clear whether McDonald had an attorney who could speak on her behalf.
Inmate records show she faces capital murder charges with a special designation because the victims were under the age of 10.
In Texas, capital murder carries a possible death penalty sentence if the defendant is convicted. Prosecutors may also pursue life in prison without the possibility of parole. But the state does not allow for the death penalty if the defendant is found to have a mental disability or legally incapacitated.
5. The Father of the Younger Child Told a Local Reporter He Is ‘Heartbroken’ & ‘Shocked’
McDonald’s ex-husband told WFAA-TV that he is heartbroken by the loss of his daughter, Lillian Mae McDonald. He did not wish to speak on camera but told the reporter that the entire family was shocked by the murders of the “two sweet little girls.”
A family friend launched a GoFundMe campaign to help cover funeral costs. The page states, “If you are friends with Chris you know that his daughters are the light of his life. Lilian was his youngest daughter and she just adored her daddy. When Chris walked into the room you could see the light and love he had for Lilian. Every interaction Lillian was smiling, laughing, and playing with her daddy.” It goes on to explain that Lillian would have turned 2 on May 15.