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JM | Aug 2, 2022

Cops charge colleague with murder as missing Donna-Lee Donaldson believed dead

Gavin Riley

Gavin Riley / Our Today

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Constable Noel Maitland (right) and social media personality girlfriend Donna-Lee Donaldson. (Photo contributed)

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Fitz Bailey says the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has today (August 2) formally levied a murder charge on constable Noel Maitland in connection with the disappearance of social media personality and girlfriend Donna-Lee Donaldson. 

Bailey, speaking at a JCF monthly press briefing this afternoon, said that while the police are yet to locate Donaldson’s body, the team of investigators on the closely watched case are convinced the 23-year-old 876 Roommates host is dead. 

Maitland, the constable-producer at the centre of the probe, surrendered to the JCF in the presence of his attorney last Wednesday, July 27. 

“What I can report at this time is that constable Maitland was, this afternoon, charged with the murder of his 23-year-old girlfriend Donna-Lee Donaldson,” Bailey began.

“His formal charge comes after 20 days of diligent and comprehensive investigations by detectives in what began as a missing person investigation, but, given the evidence that was being collected, subsequently became a murder probe,” he added.

A timeline of events, from the JCF perspective, was listed below: 

  • July 13: Donna-Lee Donaldson was first reported as missing. A missing person investigation was immediately activated. 
  • July 13-17: Several interviews were conducted by the police and statements were recorded. Various pieces of evidence were also collected and secured, while hospitals and several premises were visited by investigators. Donaldson’s family was said to have been provided periodic updates on the probe. Additionally, Maitland’s home was visited and processed by the JCF’s forensic teams. 
  • July 18: A case review was conducted and a press briefing convened at the Commissioner’s Old Hope Road offices. 
  • July 18-24: Additional persons were interviewed by investigators and statements recorded. Other evidential materials were also secured and processed. 
  • July 25: A divisional case review was held. 
  • July 26: A third case review was conducted by members of the JCF, with Paula Llewellyn, Director of Public Prosecutions (DDP), and senior prosecutors from her office as well as the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) in attendance. 
  • July 27: Constable Noel Maitland was taken into police custody. 
  • July 29: Maitland appeared in court and was remanded in police custody, where he has remained.

Just last week, the JCF had still been treating the Donaldson probe as a “missing person case”.

When asked by media personnel, Bailey explained further that Donaldson was presumed to have been killed on July 12—hours before she was first reported missing. 

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Fitz Bailey addressing media personnel at an August 2, 2022, Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) press briefing. (Photo contributed)

It is, however, a theory at this time, Bailey said as no motive has been established for her death.

“We have not recovered the body of Miss Donaldson but we believe she is dead based on our investigation and science,” he told journalists.

“What I can say is that based on our investigation, we believe that Miss Donaldson was killed on Tuesday, July 12, anytime between 4:00 and 8:00 in the evening. And this is supported, as I said before, by forensics technology. We have not yet determined the reason for her death but what we can say [is] that she was killed,” said Bailey.

The Donna-Lee Donaldson probe is far from conclusion, Bailey noted, as sleuths combed several locations including the Riverton Waste Disposal Site in St Andrew for her body or clues to her whereabouts. 

He added that for the time being there are no leads but assured the JCF will strive to bring closure to Donaldson’s bereaved family.

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