June 24, 2024

FRONT ROYAL – Jennifer McDonald, Warren County-Front Royal Economic Development Authority’s executive director, has been charged by the Virginia State Police with a misdemeanor count of filing a false police report.

The charges were filed in Warren County Circuit Court on Wednesday, June 13, and McDonald was charged on Thursday, June 14. Virginia’s statute of limitations for misdemeanors is one year; the alleged false police report was made on June 15, 2017.

A criminal complaint by Special Agent E.D.Deel states that the events leading up to a warrant being issued for McDonald began during a Front Royal Police Department investigation of a reported May 18, 2017 break-in at the EDA’s Kendrick Lane office. During that investigation, the complaint states that an “interview was conducted” by Front Royal police on June 16, but it does not name the individual who was interviewed.

The complaint indicates McDonald revealed information to the unnamed individual between 3-4 p.m. on June 15 about an incident at her 158 Faith Way home. She described the incident as a stone being thrown into her front door and a note being left behind that included phone numbers.

The complaint states that the information was important because McDonald, at approximately 9:02 p.m., called the Warren County 911 Center on June 15, about five hours after she described the event to the unknown person. During the 911 call, the complaint states that McDonald said “a loud noise happened” while she was in the basement. The Warren County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident and found that a large landscape stone was thrown into her front door. A note was also discovered in the yard with information “consistent with the statements” she made hours before the 911 call.

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment on the matter and said that question should be directed to the state police.

Contacted for comment regarding her arrest and charge, McDonald declined to comment on the matter Friday afternoon.

EDA chairman Greg Drescher said in a Friday afternoon interview that he was “very surprised” by the news and that “as a board, we will take it seriously and are now waiting for more information.” That being said, Drescher said he did not feel it was necessary for the board to call a special meeting to discuss the issue, and that it would be dealt with at the board’s next regular meeting. He said that he talked to McDonald Thursday morning, and she told him that the accusation is untrue.

Royal Examiner reached out to Warren County Administrator Doug Stanley Friday, asking if he had a comment regarding news of McDonald’s arrest and subsequent charge. His reply, “No, ma’am I do not have a comment at this time.”

Board of Supervisor’s Chairman Tony Carter, when contacted via email, stated, “I have no comment at this time re the charges. However, the BOS never became involved with any of the investigations, much less asking the FRPD or any other agency to stand down. We have no authority in this matter. From what I have seen, this was a Virginia State Police investigation. The charges appear to stem from Ms. McDonald’s personal residence.”

Carter is referring to a letter written by EDA Chairman Greg Drescher on July 17, 2017, and sent to acting Police Chief Bruce Hite “requesting that the Front Royal Police Department put the investigation on inactive status”, citing the hiring of a private investigator as the reason for the request. This letter was also sent to County Administrator Doug Stanley and each member of the Board of Supervisors, which both County Administrator Doug Stanley and BOS Chairman Tony Carter acknowledged in telephone interviews with Royal Examiner editor Norma Jean Shaw in 2017.

EDA request letter

According to online court records, McDonald has been released on a summons. She is scheduled to appear at 11 a.m. June 27 in Warren County General District Court.

About The Author