RCMP to release more on New Annan deaths Friday

Wayne Thibodeau
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RCMP plan to release another piece of the puzzle Friday in what the police force describes as a ‘bizarre crime scene' in New Annan.

A news conference will be held Friday afternoon in which police will lay out more details about what happened in a black Volkswagen Passat parked on the side of Route 2 in New Annan Sunday afternoon.

Police say Maurean MacDonnell, 36, likely died in the vehicle while it was pulled over on the side of the busy highway.

Rick MacLean, 47, most likely died as the result of injuries he incurred while he was in the same vehicle.

However, up until now police have refused to describe their deaths as murder, murder suicide or something completely different.

RCMP Sgt. Andrew Blackadar says the public should not expect any startling revelations to be released Friday.

"Nothing at this point is 100 per cent certain," Blackadar told The Guardian Thursday.

"From what the investigators were telling me today - and it was very brief - they have some things they can give to us to see what we can get out there to the public."

RCMP investigators will be meeting Friday morning at the East Prince RCMP detachment near Summerside.

A news conference will be held in Charlottetown in the afternoon.

Police are not yet saying how the pair, who were both estranged from their spouses, died even though a post-mortem examination has been completed on both.

A forensic pathologist completed the post-mortem on MacDonnell, of Kinkora, and MacLean, of Charlottetown, at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax on Tuesday.

Police say the cause of the deaths is not being released pending results of further investigation and consultation with other forensic specialists.

Investigators have revealed that police seized a knife in the car in New Annan. They would not say whether the knife was used in one or more of the deaths.

Nor are they ready to categorically rule out the possible involvement of a third party despite the fact police have no suspects, no persons of interest, are calling the deaths an isolated incident and have reiterated there is no risk to the public.

MacDonnell was recently estranged from her husband, RCMP Const. Stephen MacDonnell, an officer with the East Prince detachment.

RCMP interviewed him right after the incident, but police say they don't believe he's involved.

"Nothing at this point is 100 per cent certain," RCMP Sgt. Andrew Blackadar

On Sunday afternoon, a passing motorist found MacDonnell dead in the Passat that was on the side of Route 2 in New Annan with the four-way flashers on and a door open.

MacLean was also in the vehicle behind the wheel. He was taken to Prince County Hospital in Summerside where he died from his injuries.

Police said the two knew each other.

Funerals for both individuals will be held on Saturday.

Blackadar said the RCMP has received numerous tips, some of which have been helpful as the police try to create a timeline of where MacDonnell and MacLean were and what they were up to during the final hours of their lives Sunday afternoon.

Anybody with any information, no matter how small or trivial it may seem, is being asked to contact the East Prince RCMP.

"The tighter the timeline on the two deceased people, from after lunch until 3:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon, the more gaps we can fill in and the better it is for everybody, including the public."




Organizations: RCMP, Passat, Route 2 QEII Health Sciences Centre Prince County Hospital

Geographic location: New Annan, Summerside, Charlottetown Kinkora Halifax

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Recent comments

  • Family
    November 24, 2011 - 00:17

    Hopefully Ricks sister who is an RCMP on PEI will get to the bottom this slander on her brothers name

  • CK
    November 18, 2011 - 21:33

    My condolences are with these 2 families & I hope they can find some peace. However something is not clean with the water, lets be honest if this was any other story (not involving an RCMP officers estranged wife) the details would likely have been released already, or at the very least the cause of death. also does anyone find it in incredibly poor taste that an advertisement for a VW Passat is running in this middle of this story, about a woman found dead in a Passat??

  • Unknown
    November 18, 2011 - 17:32

    Here for the MacDonnell family

  • Disguisting
    November 18, 2011 - 15:45

    ThosE two families and having wakes for their loved one today. Knock it off and let them be. What disrespect some people have.

  • Respect for the Children and Families
    November 18, 2011 - 15:41

    First of all my sincere condolences to both of the MacLean and MacDonnell children and families. I did not know either Maurean or Rick but I like everyone else am trying to come to grips with the tragedy of this situation and to get some understanding on how something like this could happen on our little island. This is one of the saddest stories I have ever heard. I agree with the other comments on here that the most immediate need now is to give the families their privacy to grieve. My thoughts on the RCMPs approach is that they are holding back on releasing details on what happened to allow the families time to grieve and get through the wake and funeral process. While the families will certainly need closure I think they have enough to deal with for the next day or so. Allowing the families time to say good bye to their loved ones before releasing the details of this tragic event - may be a small gesture of respect to help the families deal with this sad situation one peice at a time. Given the circumstances involved here and the number of children in the immediate families, I highly respect the RCMP taking time to release details on how the two people died. The obvious thing to me is that they are being respectful to the families. God Bless everyone involved. My thoughts prayers and heart go out to all of you.

  • SG
    November 18, 2011 - 14:58

    My Sincere Condolences, thoughts and prayers are with the MacLean and MacDonell Families. I don't feel speculations are necessary.

    • turtle
      November 18, 2011 - 15:56

      relax nothings been proven yet . its easy to suggest a murder suicide but what if it wasnt. either of them are alive to tell the story . if it wasnt MR .macdonnell i think it was a murder suicide yes but nothings been proven so just wait till its official.

  • Brad
    November 18, 2011 - 14:39

    Rick was a neighbour of mine and a very genuine nice guy. Whatever the circumstances people need to have some respect for the families.

  • manda Ville
    November 18, 2011 - 11:56

    Please show some courtesy to the families,we do not need to know every detail. Walk a mile in their shoes. Although some think that are entitled, even before the family. Many thanks to all police forces, and first responders. Please let them do their jobs. They are trained and have expertise in various fields.

  • coverup
    November 18, 2011 - 09:40

    Most people already have their own idea what had happened. And alot has been leaked out on how the two died that has not been published. The RCMP have taken the stance from the start of Murder Suicide or both Murdered each other. It is easy to say this cause there is no one to dispute it. I just hope it will be enough for the Families so they can except it and move on afterthis tragedy!

    • smells bad
      November 18, 2011 - 17:41

      I agree with cover up. The RCMP's engarde was evident with each news release. I am sorry that the children have lost very key persons in their life. Cover ups always surface with time may it pass quickly to let the truth shine.

  • Ann Wright
    November 17, 2011 - 23:55

    Well, it seems to me that if the Mounties can't rule out third party involvement notwithstanding they have no one in mind--no suspects--no person (s) of interest, how can they be sure a killer is not at large? They have to have determined that it was a murder-suicide; or one attacked the other and the other struck back with both ultimately reaching a 100 percent "success" rate. Or, way, way out there in far left field, one was murdered and other died of shock at what s(he) had done. In short, assurances given in good faith must be predicated on solid, conclusive evidence that the deaths were contained within that two-person party. The very moment there is even a hint of third party involvement, all bets are off. Well, that's the way I sees it.

    • Lisa
      November 18, 2011 - 08:39

      Yeah.....what Ann Wright said!!!

    • always the last to know
      November 18, 2011 - 09:30

      Thank you Ann Wright.....you have already told us more then they will tell us, the worst part is, if this was any other province, where they are not always trying to save face, the general public would actually know what happened, and the people that are worried about a "potential third party involvement" could actually be relieved knowing there isn't a killer at large.

    • OE
      November 18, 2011 - 09:42

      And if there is a killer out there responsible for these deaths, what makes that killer any more a threat than all the other killers out there, right?