Above - Marlene McDonald with her daughter Caroline .
HWT Image Library
Police offer reward in 21-year-old cold case
They will also question employees at her former workplace and knock on doors in the street in which she lived, in the hope of finding someone who might have seen or heard anything strange around the time she vanished.
Mrs McDonald, then 36, had been working as a waitress at the Truck City roadhouse on the Hume Highway at Campbellfield when she disappeared on Sunday, December 14 1986.
Cold case task force detective, acting Senior Sergeant Julian Horan, said she was last seen just after midnight on that date, when she returned to her Wattle Grove home after an evening out with friends.
Mrs McDonald was reported missing by her parents the next morning and her abandoned car, a blue 1968 Toyota Corolla Coupe, was found at the her workplace the following evening.
She has not been seen or heard from since and police believe she met with foul play.
Senior Sergeant Horan said police had received information to suggest this was a "very suspicious" missing persons file.
Senior Sergeant Horan said investigators had reviewed the case and believe someone in the community has information regarding Mrs McDonald's disappearance.
"Her disappearance has been described as very out of character and the lack of contact with her children for the past 21 years cannot be explained," he said.
"She was by all accounts a dedicated mother who loved her children and there is no reasonable explanation for her to not have any contact with the children over that time."
'I'd settle for bones'
Mrs McDonald's mother, Mrs Edie McEntee, welcomed the cold case investigation.
"I'm really glad the police are back on this, to be honest," Mrs McEntee said.
"I wanted closure. It's what I've wanted for 21 years."
Mrs McDonald said she did not doubt her daughter was dead.
"She would have contacted me or her own family, or one of her sisters or brothers, if she had been alive. I just can't imagine that she wouldn't do that," she said.
She also said she was not always aware of all that went on in her daughter's life at that time.
"I'm quite certain that she would have confided in her brother or her sisters. They all tried to protect me as much as they could and I probably didn't know quite as much as what the brother and the sisters did," she said.
"We'd get to a certain stage and then, I believe, the police were called onto another case and this was just sort of left," she said.
But now: "I feel the police are doing a terrific job. I am very hopeful that there will be a closure.
"It would mean, not worrying every day. As my husband used to say, I'd settle for bones."
Mrs McEntee said she could, perhaps, understand why someone might not have spoken up about what they knew of her daughter's disappearance.
"Perhaps they were frightened, that they didn't want to get involved with the police or something like that," Mrs McEntee said.
"There's a lot of people who don't want to get involved with the police."
Originally from Yan Yean, she lived at Wallan during her marriage and had been living in Reservoir for only a year when she disappeared.
Car seen 'driving erratically'
At the time of her disappearance, Mrs McDonald had been separated from her husband and living with three of her five children. The other two children were living with their father.
An examination of Mrs McDonald's home the day after she disappeared indicated that somebody had forced entry to the premises, Senior Sergeant Horan said.
He said witnesses later told police that on the night of her disappearance they heard Ms McDonald's car start up and drive erratically out of the driveway and up the street.
"The witnesses have indicated the driver was not Marlene," he said.
"Police believe persons responsible for Marlene's disappearance lay in wait for her to return and later used her vehicle to transport her to another location before leaving the vehicle at Truck City."
When asked, Senior Sergeant Horan declined to identify Mrs McDonald's former husband as a possible suspect.
"There are a number of persons of interest in this investigation. I do not wish to go into any detail as to (who they might be)," he said.
Shortly after her disappearance two anonymous phone calls were made to Truck City.
"The caller has indicated among other information that Marlene is dead," he said.
"Now it's clear the caller has information in relation to Marlene's disappearance and we would urge that caller to ring Crime Stoppers and provide us with further information."
Police have recently confirmed some of the information provided in these calls and want the person who made them to call back.
"Certainly this person had some sort of knowledge about what happened to Marlene and despite the passage of time we are urging them to come forward," Senior Sergeant Horan said.
"The Director of Public Prosecutions will consider granting an indemnity from prosecution to any person who provides information as to the identity of the main offenders or offender in relation to this matter."
Detectives were due to arrive at Truck City just after midday.
"Despite the fact that it was 21 years ago that Marlene disappeared, it may well be that witnesses are available, witnesses that were living in Wattle Grove in Reservoir or witnesses that were working in Truck City in Campbellfield who could provide us with valuable information.
"So we're seeking to tap into that," Senior Sergeant Horan said.
Information can be provided via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
POLICE have offered $100,000 to anyone who can help solve the disappearance of a mother of five 21 years ago today.
Marlene McDonald was 36 when she disappeared without trace after midnight on December 14, 1986.
Acting Det Sen-Sgt Julian Horan, from the cold case unit, believes she was murdered.
Ms McDonald was a waiter at the Truck City restaurant and cafe on the Hume Highway in Campbellfield.
She had been estranged from her husband for a year.
Three of her children -- Caroline, then four, Timothy, 12, Simon, 10, Janine, 13, and Damian, 16 -- lived with her, and the others with him.
Ms McDonald was last seen alive before returning to her home in Wattle Grove, Reservoir, after midnight on December 14 from a night out.
Police said someone had forced their way in.
Witnesses have told police they heard her car drive out of the driveway erratically they don't believe she was driving.
Her blue 1968 Toyota Corolla, registration JYB 087, was found outside her workplace.
Police believe someone lay in wait for her, took her somewhere, then dumped her car.
In the weeks that followed, two anonymous phone calls were made to the Truck City cafe, one saying she was dead.
Yesterday, detectives spoke with residents in Wattle Grove and visited the Truck City cafe.
"Someone in the community knows what happened to Marlene," Det Sen-Sgt Horan said.
"It's completely out of character, and the lack of contact with her children over the past 21 years cannot be explained.
"She has by all accounts been a dedicated mother, and there's nothing to suggest she would willingly cease contact with her children."
Through the Department of Public Prosecutions, police will grant indemnity to anyone who can lead police to identifying the guilty.
"This has been a mystery for 21 years," Det Sen-Sgt Horan said. "It is time we solved the mystery."
The car, the current whereabouts of which are unknown, was dusted for prints.
But Det Sen-Sgt Horan said forensic DNA examinations of crime scenes in 1986 were not as sophisticated as today's.
Ms McDonald's mother, Edie McEntee, said her daughter's disappearance was in her mind every day.
"It never leaves you," Mrs McEntee said. "It's always at the back of your mind. As my husband used to say, I'd settle for bones."
Mrs McEntee welcomed police turning their attention to the case, criticising police who first worked on the case.
"I really blamed the police at the time," she said.
"Police were called to another case, and it was sort of left . . .
"I want closure. It would mean not worrying every day."
Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Missing woman's 'demolished' house reappears
Cold-case detectives will travel to Bendigo today to investigate fresh leads in the 21-year-old mystery of missing Melbourne woman Marlene McDonald.
The Reservoir house Mrs McDonald was living in at the time of her disappearance was initially thought to have been demolished, but has instead been transported to the Bendigo area, police said today.
Forensic experts and detectives will undertake forensic testing on the Elm Street house and recreate the scene of the night of Marlene's disappearance.
The move comes a week after detectives reopened the investigation into Mrs McDonald's disappearance.
Police last week offered a $100,000 reward and possible indemnity from prosecution for anyone who helps police solve the McDonald case.
Mrs McDonald was estranged from her husband when she disappeared on December 14, 1986 after a night out with friends.
Soon after, two anonymous phone calls to the Truck City Restaurant and Cafe - where she worked as a waitress - indicated the 36-year-old mother-of-five was dead.
Detectives last week revisited witnesses and door-knocked the Wattle Grove area of Reservoir, where Mrs McDonald lived, and Truck City in nearby Campbellfield.
Mrs McDonald's elderly mother, Edie McEntee, made a tearful plea last week for help to solve the case.
COLD case detectives have reopened a 21-year-old investigation into the disappearance of a Melbourne mother of five after new information came to light.Marlene McDonald, 36, was estranged from her husband when she went missing after a night out with friends on December 14, 1986.
Shortly after her disappearance, two anonymous phone calls were made, indicating she was dead, to the Truck City Restaurant and Cafe on the Hume Highway in Campbellfield where she worked as a waitress, police said today.
"An examination of her house at the time indicated forced entry and a struggle,'' said cold case Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Julian Horan.
Witnesses told police that evening they heard a car start up and drive erratically down the street. They do not believe the driver was Marlene.
"We believe someone in the community knows what happened to her,'' Sgt Horan said.
Detectives are today re-visiting witnesses and door knocking the Wattle Grove area in Reservoir and Truck City truck stop in Campbellfield.
Man charged with murder of Marlene McDonald
Release date: Wed 3 September 2008
Belier Taskforce detectives have tonight charged a 67-year-old Sunbury man with the murder of Marlene McDonald, who disappeared from her Reservoir home on 14 December 1986.
John Vincent McDonald was arrested at a Daly Close, Sunbury address at 7.45am this morning and taken back to the St Kilda Road police complex for questioning.
Mr McDonald appeared before an out of sessions hearing and was remanded to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday 4 September.
Husband charged over 22-year-old murder
September 4th 2008 - ABC
Victorian cold case detectives have arrested a Sunbury man in connection with a 22-year-old murder case.
Sixty-seven-year-old John Vincent McDonald has been charged with the murder of his estranged wife, Marlene McDonald, in the Melbourne suburb of Reservoir in December 1986.
The single mother-of-five was 36 when she was reported missing. Her body has never been found.
Police reopened their investigation into her disappearance last year, after discovering her house had been moved to Bendigo.
Officers were able to DNA test the home for the first time and posted a $100,000 reward for information relating to the case.
Mr McDonald has appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court and was remanded in custody. He will be back in court in January.
Missing Melbourne woman lived in Bendigo home: police
Police have confirmed a home in Bendigo was previously the residence of missing Melbourne woman Marlene McDonald.
Ms McDonald was living in the weatherboard house in Reservoir when she was abducted in 1986.
Police believed the home was later demolished, but now know it was transported to Bendigo.
Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Julian Horan says forensic investigators have begun inspecting the property.
"DNA material or another forensic material that may assist us," he said.
Detectives hope to pick up traces of DNA that were undetectable in the years after Ms McDonald's disappearance.
Crime Stoppers caller generates new leads
Release date: Fri 5 September 2008
Belier Task Force detectives have received important information from a Crime Stoppers caller they believe could assist them to locate the body of Marlene McDonald.
Information to Crime Stoppers overnight revealed her remains may possibly be buried in the Kinglake Mountains or Mount Disappointment area.
Investigators are now appealing for anybody who may have information about where Marlene’s remains are located to come forward.
Detective Sergeant Julian Horan said investigators were appealing to anybody who may have seen anything unusual in the area around the time of 14 December 1986 to contact police.
“We are asking for anyone who noticed anything unusual, such as disturbed ground, or any other strange activity to come forward.
“It is possible that what they saw at the time seemed fairly ordinary, but in light of what we now know may actually be quite significant,” Detective Sergeant Horan said.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppers.com.au
POLICE believe that a caller to Crime Stoppers may have given them important information in the search for the remains of Marlene McDonald.Ms McDonald's husband, John Vincent McDonald, 67, was charged with murder yesterday over the cold case disappearance of the mother of five.
Ms McDonald, who was 36 at the time, disappeared from her Reservoir home on December 14, 1986.
Now police say a caller to Crime Stoppers overnight revealed her remains may possibly be buried in the Kinglake Mountains or Mount Disappointment area.
Investigators are now appealing for anybody who may have information on the whereabout's of Ms McDonald's remains to come forward.
Det-Sgt Julian Horan said investigators were appealing to anybody who may have seen anything unusual in the area around the time of Ms McDonald's disappearance to contact police.
“We are asking for anyone who noticed anything unusual, such as disturbed ground, or any other strange activity to come forward," he said.
“It is possible that what they saw at the time seemed fairly ordinary, but in light of what we now know may actually be quite significant."
Mr McDonald was arrested at a Daly Close address in Sunbury at 7.45am on Wednesday, and was taken to the St Kilda Rd police complex where he was first questioned, then charged.
Last year, on the 21st anniversary of Ms McDonald's disappearance, police offered a $100,000 reward to anyone who helped solve the mystery.
A week later her house, thought to have been demolished years earlier, was discovered in country Victoria.
The house had been relocated to a block in Elm St, Bendigo, 150km northwest of Melbourne.
Experts forensically examined the house, which then became the focus of the reopened cold case.
Ms McDonald was 36 when she disappeared without a trace after midnight on Sunday, December 14, 1986.
Police believe a friend dropped Ms McDonald at her home about 1am.
Witnesses told police they later heard her car start up, rev loudly and drive off erratically. It was believed she was not the driver.
Her blue 1968 Toyota Corolla, registration JYB-087, was later found outside her workplace at a truck stop on the Hume Highway.
Ms McDonald was a waiter at the Truck City restaurant and cafe in Campbellfield.
She was estranged from her husband for about a year before she disappeared.
Her children - Caroline, then four, Timothy, 12, Simon, 10, Janine, 13, and Damian, 16 - were with their father on the night she was allegedly murdered.
In the weeks that followed, two anonymous phone calls were made to the Truck City cafe, one saying she was dead. Her body has never been found.
Ms McDonald's mother, Edie McEntee, said last year her daughter's disappearance was on her mind every day.
"It never leaves you," Mrs McEntee said.
"It's always at the back of your mind.
"As my husband used to say, I'd settle for bones."
Mr McDonald appeared before an out of sessions hearing and was remanded to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court today.
Police were unable to confirm last night whether the cash reward offered had led to the arrest. However, spokeswoman Alison Noonan said the reward was still being offered by Victoria Police.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Trio arrested over 1986 disappearance of Marlene McDonald
THREE men have been charged over the disappearance of a Melbourne waitress who went missing almost 23 years ago from a truckie roadhouse.
Cold case detectives arrested and
charged the men with the kidnapping of
Marlene McDonald in December 1986.
It follows the arrest of Ms McDonald’s estranged husband, John Vincent McDonald, for her murder last September.
And the arrests come just days after police set up an information caravan in Morwell, in country Victoria, appealing for people who may know where Ms McDonald’s body is located.
Detectives from the Bellier Taskforce, homicide squad and local police arrested and charged Gregory Bone, 39, from Melbourne’s north, Stuart Binion from Sydney and a 41-year-old man from Moe, in Victoria’s south-east.
Ms McDonald, a waitress at the Truck City roadhouse in Campbellfield, in Melbourne’s north-west, was last seen returning home following an evening out with friends. She was reported missing by her parents the following morning.
Her car was found abandoned at Truck City the next day.
Shortly after, two anonymous phone calls to Truck City indicated she was dead.
In December 2007, the 21st anniversary of McDonald's disappearance, police offered a $100,000 reward to solve the crime.
A week later, her house, thought to have been demolished, was discovered in country Victoria. The house had been relocated to a block in Bendigo, 150km northwest of Melbourne. Experts undertook a forensic examination of the house, which then became the focus of the reopened cold case.
THREE men have been charged in relation to the cold case disappearance of waitress Marlene McDonald more than 22 years ago.
Mrs McDonald, a
waitress at the Truck City
roadhouse in north suburban
Campbellfield, was last seen
shortly after midnight on
December 14, 1986 returning
home following an evening
out with friends.
Cold case detectives said last week they believed they were close to finding the body of the mother of five.
Police arrested three men this week in connection with the disappearance.
Her estranged husband, John Vincent McDonald, was charged with her murder last September and is awaiting trial.
Gregory Bone, 39, from Whittlesea, was arrested on Tuesday before facing Melbourne Magistrates' Court the same day.
He has since been remanded in custody on charges of kidnapping.
NSW man Stuart Binion, aged in his late 30s, was arrested in Sydney yesterday on charges of kidnapping and will be extradited to Victoria to face Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Monday.
A 41-year-old Moe man was arrested today and charged with kidnapping and indecent assault.
Police will be making an application for remand this afternoon at Morwell Magistrates Court.
Ms McDonald, who was 36 at the time, was reported missing by her parents the morning after she was last seen.
Her car was found abandoned at Truck City the next day.
Shortly after, two anonymous phone calls to Truck City indicated Mrs McDonald was dead.
She has not been seen or heard from since.
On December 14 2007, the 21st anniversary of Mrs McDonald's disappearance, police offered a $100,000 reward to solve the crime.
In a bizarre twist, her house, thought to have been demolished years earlier, was discovered in country Victoria a week later.
The house had been relocated to a block in Elm Street, Bendigo, 150km north-west of Melbourne.
Experts undertook an extensive forensic examination of the house, which then became the focus of the reopened cold case.
Waitress had bruises before disappearance, court hears
A court has been told that a Melbourne truck stop waitress who was murdered more than 20 years ago had affairs with several truck drivers.
The Melbourne Magistrates Court heard that waitress and mother of five Marlene McDonald went missing in December 1986.
Her car was found dumped at the Campbellfield roadhouse where she worked.
Last year, her estranged husband John Vincent McDonald, 68, of Sunbury was charged with her murder.
Ms McDonald's former colleagues told his committal hearing today that she was seeing several truck drivers who stopped at the roadhouse, and this gave her the courage to leave her husband.
The court was also told Ms McDonald was seen with bruises several times before she disappeared.
The hearing continues.
Murdered mother Marlene McDonald beaten for her 'sins', court hears
A MOTHER of five who police believe was murdered by her estranged husband almost 23 years ago was savagely beaten by her religious father and brother for being a "sinner" and leaving her husband not long before she vanished.
Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday heard Marlene McDonald, 36, was last seen on December 14, 1986. Her car was discovered in the carpark of a roadside truck cafe where she had worked for at least two years.
Former workmates told the committal hearing of her estranged husband John McDonald - who was only recently charged with kidnapping and murdering her after cold-case detectives reopened the investigation - that she constantly feared for her life.
They said she would come to work with bruises and was "beaten" by Mr McDonald, now 68, as well as her father and brother, and felt she was being "watched" by her estranged husband.
The court was told the roadside cafe - called Truck City on the Hume Highway in Campbellfield just north of Melbourne - had the reputation that some waitresses would also work as prostitutes, and that drugs were traded. Some waitresses were known as "truckie sluts" because they would sleep with drivers after work.
But her former boss, Barbara Ritchie, told the court McDonald was not one of the "wild" girls, was devoted to her children and was just trying to start a new life after separating from her husband. She said McDonald would often arrive at the restaurant with bruises and most people suspected she had been assaulted by her husband.
Ms Ritchie told the hearing McDonald had confided in her that she had been attacked by two masked men in her home one night but she knew they were her father and brother. "They both started punching and kicking her. The father was very religious and was saying over and over that she had sinned, that she had committed adultery ... whilst her brother was calling her a slut and a whore," she said in a statement tendered to the court.
"They continued dragging her by the hair to the laneway ... when they got outside, her brother started using a baseball bat ... She thought they were going to kill her."
Ms Ritchie said McDonald thought her husband was involved in the attack because she saw his van in the laneway where she was dragged before being shown a dumpster.
"Marlene then said her brother started saying, 'That is where you will end up next time ... that is where trash belongs'," Ms Ritchie said. "He also said to her that if she did not go back to her husband that she will be killed."
She said McDonald believed she was going to be killed by her brother but that it was "totally instigated by the husband and father".
The court also heard conflicting reports from former workmates that McDonald may have been seeing one or more truck drivers and that she had simply run off with one of them to Queensland.
But Ms Ritchie gave evidence that the 36-year-old would never have left her children.
The month-long committal hearing continues tomorrow.
Waitress 'feared she
would be killed'
- Melissa Iaria - WA Times
- November 2, 2009
A woman missing for 23 years and believed murdered was terrified of her husband, father and brother and thought she would be killed, her former workmates allege.
Mother-of-five Marlene McDonald, from Reservoir in Melbourne's north, went missing in December 1986. Her body has never been found.
Her estranged husband, John Vincent McDonald, 68, of Sunbury, was charged last year with her kidnap and murder after police posted a $100,000 reward to anyone who could help solve the mystery.
Ms McDonald's former colleagues from the Truck City roadhouse in Campbellfield where she worked as a waitress alleged in court her husband was abusive and she was having affairs with truck drivers.
Her workmates also told the Melbourne Magistrates' Court Ms McDonald often came to work with bruises.
One colleague, Sharon Scicluna, said Ms McDonald once came to work with a big gash on her head, saying her husband had hit her with a plank of wood.
"I remember Marlene being belted a number of times by her husband," she said in her tendered statement.
Barbara Ritchie said in her statement Ms McDonald told her she had left her husband a few times after he beat her.
In one incident, Ms McDonald told her she was threatened with her life during an attack by her own brother and father involving a baseball bat.
Ms Ritchie said Ms McDonald told her she was awoken and dragged out of her bed by two men whose faces were covered, but whom she knew was her brother and father.
Ms McDonald had told her they punched and kicked her, her father repeatedly told her she had sinned and her brother called her a "slut" and "whore" and hit her with a baseball bat.
Ms Ritchie said Ms McDonald believed her husband was involved as she saw his van as she was being dragged to a dumpster, where her brother told her "trash belongs".
"He also said to her that if she did not go back to her husband, that she will be killed," Ms Ritchie said.
"Marlene said the bashing was a warning to her. But Marlene also knew that she would be killed."
Ms Ritchie said Ms McDonald was in terror of her father, husband and brother, who was "backward".
"Marlene believed that she was going to be killed by her brother but totally instigated by the husband and father," she said.
Ms McDonald's former colleagues said she was quiet but gained more confidence once truck drivers paid her attention.
The court heard that one worker told police Ms McDonald was "trim", "very well spoken" and "easy", meaning she slept around with the truck drivers.
"At the beginning it was like a smorgasbord," the witness told police.
But others said Ms McDonald was not "wild" like some of the other waitresses who slept with truckies for money.
Waitress Lynette Parker said Ms McDonald began seeing truck drivers when she was still married, but there were only two affairs she knew of.
The court heard there was gossip after her disappearance that she moved interstate with a truck driver but an unknown person had called her work to say she was dead.
The pre-trial hearing continues on Wednesday.
Brother of missing woman slams police
THE brother of a woman who went missing almost 23 years ago and is alleged to have been murdered by her estranged husband has hit out at police, saying their original investigation of her disappearance was "inept, at best".
Anthony McEntee told the Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday he had to go to his local police station and refuse to leave for hours before detectives would look into the whereabouts of his sister, Marlene McDonald.
McDonald, a 36-year-old mother of five, was last seen on December 14, 1986. Prosecutors allege her estranged husband, John McDonald, kidnapped and murdered her. Cold case detectives reopened the case in 2007.
Mr McEntee told Mr McDonald's committal hearing yesterday that he was far from happy about the way the original detectives had handled his sister's disappearance.
He said he went to her house, in Melbourne's northern suburbs, after she had gone missing and found evidence someone had broken in and there had been some sort of altercation.
"I think I rang the police and they did not attend. Dianne (his then girlfriend) and I went to the Reservoir police station. I recall sitting there for hours determined to stay there until somebody took some action," Mr McEntee said in a statement tendered to the court.
He said he was never satisfied with the police investigation and made his own inquiries, including travelling to Queensland to show pictures of his sister after rumours circulated that she had run off with a truck driver.
"The police investigation was very frustrating - the police officers were far from being proactive," he said. "One of the terms they used was it was more a domestic than anything else. It seemed they had to go out of their way to do any sort of investigation - they seemed totally disinterested."
The committal hearing also heard evidence from John Gaffney, who used to volunteer at St Vincent de Paul and who helped McDonald escape from her then threatening husband 12 months before she went missing.
The committal continues.
Korp linked to cold case
STEVE BUTCHERNovember 12, 2009
JOE Korp and his wife Maria - who was bashed, choked and left to die in the boot of a car near the Shrine of Remembrance - have been linked in death to a cold case murder prosecution.
One of Korp's brothers and Mrs Korp's daughter have also been drawn into the case of a woman who disappeared and was believed murdered almost 23 years ago.
Homicide detectives have been told that Mrs Korp, 47, who died in 2005, six months after her husband got his lover to attack her, knew mother of five Marlene McDonald.
It has been alleged that in about 1990 - four years after Mrs McDonald was last seen alive - Mrs Korp was in Queensland when she saw Mrs McDonald and waved to her.
Mrs Korp allegedly knew Mrs McDonald through a cricket club, the Melbourne Magistrates Court heard yesterday during a committal hearing for Mrs McDonald's estranged husband John, 68, who is charged with her murder. It was also revealed that Joe Korp and his brother Kevin played together in a cricket team against another team that included McDonald.
Kevin Korp and Mrs Korp's daughter Laura De Gois gave evidence yesterday in McDonald's case after investigators approached their solicitor Jim Robinson, of Best Hooper.
Homicide detectives, who reopened the case in 2007, provided Mr Robinson with the claims made by McDonald about the Queensland "sighting" for his clients to make sworn statements which were tendered yesterday in court.
Ms De Gois, 31, a hairdresser, said her mother never visited Queensland and "on this basis I would say this story is a lie".
Mr Korp, 44, a lift mechanic, described the story as being "made up".
The sordid saga of Korp's infamous crime, committed with his mistress Tania Herman, transfixed the public and continues with a planned telemovie about the case.
Herman was jailed for a minimum of nine years after pleading guilty to the attempted murder of Mrs Korp, who never regained consciousness, while Korp, 47, killed himself before a same charge was heard.
In 2007, after a coroner found Korp helped Herman "callously" attack his wife, the posthumous prosecution of him was ended.
Mrs McDonald, then 36, was last seen in December, 1986, and her car found near a roadhouse cafe where she worked in Campbellfield.
McDonald, who was charged last year, is alleged to have asked a teenager from the Whittlesea Cricket Club to help kidnap his wife.
That man and two others have pleaded guilty to charges of kidnapping her but have not been sentenced. McDonald's hearing has been told of rumours his wife may have "run off" to Queensland with a truck driver.
Ms De Gois said in her statement detectives told her an "individual" had stated her mother saw Mrs McDonald "alive and well" outside a cafe in Queensland in about 1990.
But Ms De Gois said: "My mother never went to Queensland. I would have been aware of this if she had of travelled there. On this basis I would say this story is a lie." She told defence counsel Tony Lewis she did not know if Joe Korp played cricket for a Donnybrook club where it was alleged her mother knew Mrs McDonald.
Kevin Korp said he and his brother played for Donnybrook and that he (Kevin) knew McDonald as an opposition player for Whittlesea but had never met his wife. "I believe that Maria would not have known John McDonald as Joe wasn't playing for Donnybrook in 1990 and that was the year Joe and Maria first met," he said.
Man jailed over 1986 kidnapping
Court hears John McDonald knew where Marlene McDonald was buried
- From: Herald Sun
- March 03, 2011
Prosecutor Geoff Horgan SC said in a secretly bugged conversation at his Sunbury home John McDonald, 70, talked about his wife's body being buried, talked of a location and of four people being involved.
Mr Horgan said when the secret recording was made in December 2007, the police had only one witness, a neighbour who saw a car in Marlene McDonald's driveway, saw someone try to start it and saw someone come out of her house.
“Why would anyone suppose the body would be found at Kinglake? Why would anyone suppose that it could be discovered by somebody digging at Kinglake?,'' Mr Horgan said in his opening address to the Supreme Court jury.
“But the accused speculates about these things.
“It's the prosecution case that the accused knows where the body is because he's involved and he knows that four people were there, took part in the abduction because he was involved.''
Mr Horgan said they would hear evidence from three men who admitted they abducted Ms McDonald on the night she was last seen alive in December 1986.
One of the men will say he met Mr McDonald in the Whittlesea area through their mutual involvement in cricket and he offered him thousands of dollars to become involved.
“He didn't say,'I want to get rid of my wife, that is to kill her or have you kill her or have somebody kill her','' Mr Horgan said.
“What he said was, `I want to get rid of her so she could be taken to Sydney or put in a nut house'.''
Mr McDonald, of Sunbury, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Marlene McDonald who was 36 at the time and whose body has never been found.
The mother of five was last seen alive on December 13, 1986.
Mr Horgan said an undercover policeman, posing as a journalist, spoke to Mr McDonald in December 2007 about the disappearance of his wife and the accused was then recorded again talking to himself in his home.
In the recording Mr Horgan said the accused spoke about his DNA being on a rope and a blanket.
“Nobody has seen rope, nobody knows at this stage anything about rope, and nobody knows anything about a blanket, but he's thinking up an explanation that he's going to give the police if a body is found,'' the prosecutor said.
Opening the defence case Tony Lewis posed the question “is Marlene McDonald dead? and said it was by no means cut and dried that she was.
Mr Lewis said Ms McDonald had at least two powerful motives to literally fall off the globe, to escape her violent and “fundamentalist Catholic family'' and her involvement in drugs.
He said her late brother Leon McEntee was a very strange man who was probably schizophrenic and was facing charges for assaulting her at the time she disappeared.
And he said her parents disapproved of her walking out on her husband.
At the time Ms McDonald worked at Truck City roadhouse in Campbellfield and her children from time to time found her with packages that clearly contained drugs, he said.
And it was notorious at that time that truck drivers took drugs.
Mr Lewis said the three men who would give evidence about the alleged abduction were completely unreliable.
The trial before Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth is continuing.
Husband guilty in 25-year-old murder case
Andrea Petrie - The AgeApril 19, 2011
The husband of a Victorian woman who disappeared almost 25 years ago has today been convicted of her murder.
After four days of deliberations, a Supreme Court jury found John Vincent McDonald, 70, of Sunbury, guilty of killing wife Marlene McDonald, who "vanished off the face of the earth" on the night of December 13-14, 1986.
Her car was found the next day where the waitress, 36, worked — the Truck City Restaurant and Cafe on the Hume Highway in Campbellfield.
The mother of five was abducted and presumably killed after being kidnapped at her Reservoir home on that night in 1986.
"She has never been heard of from that date to this — no word from her, about her, no communication whatsoever. [She] vanished," said prosecutor Geoff Horgan, SC.
Her body has also never been found.
Mrs McDonald separated from her husband 13 months before her disappearance, after what the court heard was a violent relationship.
Her mother, Edith McEntee testified that Mrs McDonald told her bruises on her body had been caused by her husband, who was also responsible for breaking her finger.
Several other witnesses gave evidence that they saw her with black eyes and bruises and that her brother and father had attacked her in the months leading up to her disappearance because she had left her husband. One witnesses, a neighbour, told the court that Mrs McDonald had said that her brother and son were going to do something to her but would not say what it was because it was "too terrible".
McDonald nominated several other people possibly responsible for her disappearance and presumed murder — most of whom are now dead — therefore are unable to defend themselves.
They included her father, Patrick McEntee, a strict Catholic who was angry she had left her husband; her brother, Tony McEntee, who had previously assaulted her; and, one of her sons, Damian McDonald, who the court heard blamed her for his parents' marriage break-up.
Defence barrister Tony Lewis argued Mrs McDonald could still be alive because "it is possible to disappear".
"There is no body, there is no mode of death, there is no place that they can point to that Marlene is," Mr Lewis said.
They suggested there was a chance that she had run off a with a truck driver and was living in a caravan park in Queensland or somewhere.
McDonald had suggested that Maria Korp — who he knew was the wife of his cricket friend Joe Korp — had seen Mrs McDonald interstate.
But Mrs Korp's daughter Laura De Gois testified at the trial that her mother had never been to Queensland.
Mrs Korp was killed in 2005 by Korp's lover, Tania Herman. Korp later killed himself before he was tried over her attempted murder.
Another possibility raised by McDonald's defence was that his wife got into trouble because she had been dealing drugs at the truck stop. Two of her sons, Simon and Timothy, testified to have seen her with bags of pills and wads of cash, but Mr Horgan argued they were unreliable witnesses who lied and made things up to help their father.
McDonald also told police his wife might have been killed by one of her male friends, Bruce Williams, who had been the last to see her alive and to whom McDonald claimed his wife was pregnant to.
But the prosecution claimed McDonald had a "murderous obsession" with his wife, especially regarding relationships she had with other men she met at work after her marriage separation.
"The prosecution case is that when the children had access he would cause them to write abusive notes for her, to give to her after those access visits, and he would call her a slut, a whore or a prostitute. He would not adjust to her leaving him and making her own life independent of him."
McDonald was also angry because his wife had initiated Family Court proceedings before her disappearance to formalise access and custody arrangements for their children; the two eldest stayed with their father upon the break-up, while the younger three stayed with her.
At the time of her disappearance, McDonald wanted custody of all the children.
"Having got rid of her, he then got custody of the children," Mr Horgan said. "Because she was no longer around, that contested case ceased to be a contested case. He was then the only parent and he was awarded custody."
He asked the jury to question why Mrs McDonald would go to the length of taking court action to formalise child custody arrangements if she just planned disappear and start a new life.
"The conclusion that she is dead is inescapable," Mr Horgan said in his closing address.
"[She has] made no contact with any family member, her friends, her children since December 14, 1986 [and] not accessed any business, government body, agency or the like."
He added that McDonald bore his wife "great animosity, great enmity".
"He couldn't stand her. He would do everything he could to make her life as miserable as possible... There's only one person — [John McDonald] — who organised the abduction, who had the motive, the hatred, the man who wanted to make Marlene McDonald's life as hard as he could for her, until he gets to the point where he can organise her abduction. And the necessary inevitable consequence of that, we say, her murder, either by himself or at the hands of somebody else. We don't know."
The court heard McDonald was an "inveterate liar" who had lied to police in his interviews, including about where he got information that had never been made public.
The real breakthrough in the case came in late 2007 after an undercover policeman posed as a freelance investigative journalist and paid McDonald for a feature story he claimed he was going to sell to the newspapers about his wife's disappearance.
Among the information the undercover operative fed him was that a body had been found at Kinglake that might be his missing wife.
McDonald was interviewed by police around this time and named his co-accused during a soliloquy in his car after investigators spoke to him again. It was captured on police bugs.
After acquitting himself in the minds of the interviewing police officers during the rumination, McDonald is heard on the recordings saying: "Yeah, Bino and the other bloke . . . no they [police] don't know, wouldn't know."
Until that point, police did not know of the existence of a man nicknamed "Bino", who later proved to be one of the three men recruited by McDonald for his wife's kidnapping.
He was also overheard playing the role of police officers telling him that his wife's body had been found in Kinglake.
McDonald's co-accused, Stuart Binion, Andrew Ardley and Greg Bone testified that he was behind the plot and that she was alive when they handed her over to McDonald because he told them she was crazy and he needed their help to capture her so he could take her to Sydney to put her in an asylum.
They all pleaded guilty to kidnapping Mrs McDonald and were sentenced to almost three years' jail. They received nine-month minimum terms after agreeing to testify against McDonald.
"Why are they going to go to jail for fiction? They are not," he said. "She was abducted that night. There could be no argument about that."
Mr Lewis said Binion, Bone and Ardley were liars.
A $100,000 reward leading to a murder conviction in the case was also offered, which Mr Lewis argued was reason for the trio to make up a story implicating McDonald.
McDonald was also captured on listening devices on another occasion whispering to himself a hypothetical conversation with Binion about him coming forward to claim the reward.
"That conversation gives the game away," the jury was told by Mr Horgan. "What other possible interpretation can you put on that except that John McDonald knows about Binion, knows his role and expects, fears, that he's going to come forward with the reward and... spill the beans on him?"
Mr Lewis said the missing woman's family was "strongly opposed" to her charging her brother with assault, said her son had been seen by a neighbour leaving her house the night she disappeared, and reminded the jury that Mrs McDonald had picked up her pay before she vanished therefore had money.
"She was a manipulative person," he said. "She coloured events so as to cast her herself in a good light and she coloured events so as to cast John McDonald in a bad light."
He argued that if his client knew his wife was dead, there was no point for him to go to his wife's work in the weeks after she disappeared and made inquiries about her made no sense.
He said the prosecution case had an "insurmountable problem".
"The insurmountable problem really comes from the fact that there is no body, there is no mode of death," Mr Lewis said.
"There is no place that they can point to that Marlene is. Despite what Mr Horgan says, she could be in any part of Australia, or indeed the world."
But the jury believed she was dead.
Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth remanded McDonald to appear before her for a pre-sentence plea hearing next month.
John Vincent McDonald found guilty of murdering Marlene McDonald
- From: Herald Sun, AAP
- April 19, 2011
John Vincent McDonald, of Sunbury, had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Marlene McDonald, who disappeared without a trace soon after midnight on Sunday, December 14, 1986.
Her body has never been found.
A Victorian Supreme Court jury, which deliberated for four days, delivered its verdict today.
McDonald was remanded in custody to be sentenced at a later date.
During his trial, the jury heard he couldn't move on after his marriage break-up and hired three men to kidnap his wife.
Prosecutor Geoff Horgan SC told the court Mrs McDonald had separated from her husband, was seeing other men and had applied for custody of their five children before she went missing.
He said these issues began festering in McDonald's mind and he engaged three men to abduct her from her home in Reservoir and planned to kill her or have her killed.
The case heard that after Ms McDonald was dropped off at her home in Reservoir by a friend about 1am, she was pounced on by three men who tied her up and put her in a van.
She was taken by the trio and her husband to Whittlesea, where the abductors got out of the van and McDonald drove off.A witness told police they later heard her car start up, rev loudly and drive off erratically.
Her blue 1968 Toyota Corolla was later found outside the Truck City café on the Hume Highway at Campbellfield.
The court heard evidence from three men who admitted abducting Ms McDonald on the night she was last seen alive.
One of the men will claimed he met Mr McDonald in the Whittlesea area through their mutual involvement in cricket and he offered him thousands of dollars to become involved.
"He didn't say,’I want to get rid of my wife, that is to kill her or have you kill her or have somebody kill her','' Prosecutor Geoff Horgan SC said during the case.
“What he said was, `I want to get rid of her so she could be taken to Sydney or put in a nut house'.''
During the trial, a jury heard McDonald was heard speaking about her abductors, about DNA on a rope and blanket, as well as about his wife’s body being buried and of four people being involved.Ms McDonald had been estranged from her husband for about a year before she disappeared.
Her children - Caroline, then four, Timothy, 12, Simon, 10, Janine, 13, and Damian, 16 - were believed to have been with their father on the night she was allegedly murdered.
In the weeks that followed, two anonymous phone calls were made to the Truck City cafe, one saying she was dead. Her body has never been found.
Ms McDonald's mother, Edie McEntee, has previously said her daughter's disappearance was on her mind every day.
"It never leaves you," Mrs McEntee said.
"It's always at the back of your mind.
"As my husband used to say, I'd settle for bones."