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Donna Macho Disappeared Mysteriously Inside Her Room And Had To Spend 40 Years To Know The Truth


By Based On a True StoryPublished about a month ago 5 min read

In 1984 Donna Macho was a 19-year-old girl who worked as a legal secretary and part-time model since she wanted to dedicate herself to the latter in the future.

Everyone says that she was very beautiful, which led her to be very popular in high school and college.

At the time of the events, Donna lived with her mother, stepfather and sister in East Windsor, a municipality in New Jersey. She had the room in the basement, which gave her a lot of privacy.

Unfortunately, the fact of having this bedroom made no one know about her kidnapping until after a few hours.

The facts:

February 26, 1984 was Saturday, so Donna and her 14-year-old sister Julie stayed in the basement watching a scary movie until 2 in the morning.

At about quarter to 3, the teenager went up to her room to sleep and left Donna watching TV. At that moment her mother and stepfather slept peacefully.

The next day the family didn’t see Donna in the house but since the girl had told them that she had to go to her office for a job she had pending, they thought she would be there.

The alarms went off when Donna didn’t show up for dinner. Her worried mother went down to the basement to see if the girl had arrived without realizing it.

But not only was there no trace of Donna in the room, but everything was also quite scrambled. This didn’t seem normal to her mother because her daughter was very organized.

When reviewing the room carefully, she discovered something that left her quite shocked... In a corner there was a pile of clothes full of blood. The woman in a panic told the police.

The agents began to investigate Donna’s disappearance. The first thing they did was look for her around, which took them to the first important track.

On the side of Millstone Road, near the Cranberry border, agents found Donna’s 79 black Chrysler with the 4 doors open. Inside was her wallet with cash, credit cards and driver’s license. In addition, they discovered that there were blood stains on both the ceiling and the upholstery.

After an analysis, it was learned that the blood in the car belonged to Donna. On the other hand, when analyzing their room in depth, they found biological remains of a man. It was clear that that individual had entered the room and had taken Donna.

Unfortunately, at that time the DNA technology was still in diapers so despite the samples they could not identify him.

With hardly any clues, the case ended up cooling down and it took several years to know what really happened to Donna.

Found Donna:

On April 2, 1995, that is, more than ten years after Donna’s disappearance, a Boy Scouts troop commander found a partially dressed skeleton. This one was buried in a thick weed, very close to the place where the girl’s car was found.

Thanks to the dental records, the authorities were able to confirm that the remains found belonged to Donna Macho.

Initially, the autopsy determined that the young woman had died from a gunshot wound to the head. However, after a more thorough examination, it was discovered that although she suffered a head wound, it was not caused by a bullet. With all this, her death was classified as a homicide.

For years the family hired private investigators, trackers and even psychics in the hope of finding the killer but all this was of no use and the case cooled down again.

In 2022, almost 40 years after the events, the authorities reopened the investigation. The first thing they did was send all the evidence that was collected at the time to the Central Regional Laboratory of the State Police of New Jersey. This included DNA samples, as well as fingerprints found at the scene.

Finally, to everyone’s joy, in April 2023, the authorities revealed that the person responsible for Donna Macho’s death was Nathaniel Harvey, a man with a long criminal past and who had already died in prison.

The semen left on Donna’s apartment during the first investigation in 1984 allowed this confirmation. Something that, if a crime had not been committed, would not have to be there.

Days later they revealed that Harvey had been a suspect from the beginning of the investigation, however they could never accuse him because the DNA tests at that time were not very advanced and did not yield results.

De Harvey is known to have been arrested in the past for a series of abuses but what led him directly to prison was a crime he committed in June 1985.

On that date, a 37-year-old widow named Irene Schnapps was found dead in the bedroom of her apartment. The person who discovered the body was her co-worker who approached her house after days without knowing anything about her.

In this case, the investigators came to the conclusion that the killer had ended up hitting her on the head with a metal object. In addition, on the pillow of her bed there was a bloody fingerprint and a footstep on the floor.

The police thought that the attacker could be an acquaintance of Irene because the entry had not been forced. With this theory they reached Peter, a neighbor of the woman.

Of this man they discovered that he was in love with her so for a while he was in the spotlight as this did not lead them to anything they had no choice but to discard him as a suspect.

From there they put the focus on Nathaniel Harvey, a criminal who had a reputation for breaking into the open house to attack and take women by force. During the interrogation, the agents realized that Harvey’s shoe was the same size as the fingerprint found at the crime scene but not only that, inside his car they found a Seiko watch that belonged to Irene.

With all this and after 3 days of interrogation, Nathaniel admitted that he had ended the woman’s life. However, here the agents made a mistake: they did not record the confession. Because of this, the individual said some time later that he was not involved in the case.

Even so, this was of no use to him because Harvey was finally sentenced to life imprisonment for Irene’s death and despite the appeals he remained imprisoned from the time of his arrest in 1985 until his death in 2020.

Julie Burger, Donna’s sister told the media that the case “destroyed her family.”

“We spent all the money we had to find her. At first we thought that somehow she was still alive. Maybe she was just hurt, or someone had her held back... I’m glad the case is closed, but I feel like he got away with it.”

Julie has been living in Texas for years, where her sister Donna is buried. Unfortunately, her parents didn’t live long enough to know who ended the life of their eldest daughter.


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About the Creator

Based On a True Story

Hi everyone! My name is Marta and every week I write about true crime, always with an educational purpose.

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