May 20, 2024

FRONT ROYAL – Just over two years ago, on May 18, 2017, McDonald telephoned the Front Royal Police Department to report a break-in at the office located at 400-D Kendrick Lane. Found at the scene were photos of McDonald with the face scratched out on the board meeting room table, and another photo of McDonald’s face with a knife stuck through the forehead in the seat she normally occupied during board meetings, as well as some defaced family photos, also on the meeting room table.

According to the Front Royal Police Department investigative file, obtained through a Royal Examiner Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, McDonald also told police that May 18th morning, that a week earlier, on May 11, 2017, she arrived at work to find a knife lying in her desk chair. There was no signed of forced entry, nor was a call made to police.

Police said nothing was reported missing, there was no sign of forced entry and to this day, the case remains unsolved.

Despite the fact that McDonald reported to officers nothing was missing from her office, she later told police when they invited her in for a sit-down, recorded interview with Investigators Landin Waller and Crystal Cline that several files were missing from the office, specifically the ITFederal folder, the Regional Justice Academy folder and the Workforce Housing folder.

Using information gleaned from the interview with McDonald, the FRPD investigative team invited Ron Llewellyn and John Costello–both of whom McDonald said knew about the missing files—to sit down for interviews.

In late spring of 2017, this reporter was contacted by a source who relayed a conversation the source held with Bret Hrbek regarding Truc “Curt” Tran and his identity as the “anonymous benefactor” who would fund the building of an $8 million regional justice training academy in Warren County, that was described by McDonald and then-Sheriff Daniel McEathron during a radio interview I conducted with them in the spring of 2016.

As Front Royal Police Department Investigators continued interviews with anyone who might have a link to the case, Hrbek also came up on the Department’s radar. He would prove, however, to be of little value to the investigation.


In the next video segment, Jennifer McDonald’s longtime co-worker and EDA Director of Marketing Marla Jones answered investigator’s questions as they attempted to unravel the mystery of exactly what transpired at the EDA office at 400-D Kendrick Lane on May 18, 2017.

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