‘Ice’ residue found in
shooting suspect’s vehicle
The man apparently killed himself
after killing a Hilo resident
HILO >> Empty packets with crystal methamphetamine residue were found in the vehicle of Big Island murder suspect Nat Kalae Eckman following his apparent suicide Monday, police Capt. Samuel Thomas said yesterday.
Court records indicated that Eckman, 33, was also charged with cocaine possession in the past, had a history of abusing two girlfriends and had allegedly been under treatment for mental problems.
Eckman is believed to have shot and killed John McDonald, 62, the father of Eckman's former girlfriend Ashley McDonald, 20, at John McDonald's home south of Hilo Sunday night.
He also shot and wounded John McDonald's wife, Doraline, 57, who was taken to the Queen's Medical Center in critical condition. She has directed the hospital not to release further information about her, the hospital said.
Ashley McDonald's 3-year-old daughter was removed from the house by Eckman. She has been reunited with her mother in the Hilo area, physically unharmed but likely "mentally scarred" by the events, Thomas said.
An autopsy yesterday determined John McDonald died from multiple gunshot wounds to the upper body, Thomas said. Police know that a handgun was used, and they found a .22-caliber revolver and ammunition in Eckman's vehicle, Thomas said.
Police reached Eckman around 9 p.m. Sunday via cell phone and tried to talk him into surrendering.
Eckman's body was found in a house a few miles from the McDonalds' house. An autopsy showed he died of a single gunshot wound. A .30-caliber, lever-action Winchester rifle was found next to him, Thomas said.
Up to two months will be needed for a toxicology report showing how much methamphetamine, if any, was in his body, Thomas said.
On Sunday, Eckman telephoned Ashley McDonald and threatened her about 4:30 p.m., Thomas said. He was already under a temporary restraining order prohibiting contact with her.
In the evening, he visited his daughter, Ashley's child, at the home of John and Doraline McDonald for about an hour, Thomas said.
There is no indication Eckman gave any warning before shooting the McDonalds, Thomas said. A neighbor, Paul Cyr, said he heard no arguing from their house.
Eckman had a criminal record going back to at least 1994, when he was charged with assault, and 1996, when he was charged with cocaine possession, according to court records.
His former girlfriend from the mid-1990s said in court documents seeking restraining orders against Eckman that he punched her on several occasions and threatened her with a gun.
She told officials she didn't think he had a drug problem, but he was using "psychotropic medication" and was under treatment at a program for mental illness.
Ashley McDonald, later seeking a series of restraining orders against him, told officials she was with him since about 1997.
In violation of a restraining order, Eckman saw Ashley McDonald on Oct. 4. She told officials he threatened, "I'll get my f... gauge (shotgun) and I going lay you out. I'll knock you right now. I'll grab you by your f... head."
He was arrested, released the next day, and went to her house where he threatened her again, she told officials.