Macomb Co. cold-case arrests: ‘We got lucky’
Mount Clemens — Authorities have charged two teens in connection with the cold-case slaying of a 19-year-old Macomb Township man whose body parts were unearthed in two Macomb County locations this week.
All leads had gone “cold” in the investigation into the whereabouts of Stephen McAfee — who vanished from his home on Walden Drive in Macomb Township about 2:30 a.m. on March 10, 2016 — until a woman, accompanied by her father, came forward Wednesday afternoon with information about the homicide, authorities said.
Later that night, Andrew Michael Fiacco, 19, of Ray Township and Eevette Macdonald, 18, of Shelby Township were arrested in connection with McAfee’s death, Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said.
“We got lucky,” said Wickersham, admitting the investigation had produced little after one year of extensive interviews and public pleas until the woman came forward.
That unnamed woman, who will be a key witness and is not charged with any crimes, had known about the killing for more than a month after learning about it from Macdonald, but for unknown reasons, had not come forward, officials said.
McAfee was friends with both of the suspects, according to authorities. And both suspects gave statements implicating themselves, Wickersham said.
“We have no motive,” Wickersham added.
Fiacco, who at the time of his arrest was an inpatient under drug treatment in the area, was charged Friday with first-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, dismemberment of a body and lying to a police officer investigation a felony crime.
Macdonald, his ex-girlfriend, is charged with being an accessory after the murder, dismemberment and lying to police.
Fiacco faces up to life in prison and Macdonald up to 10 years in prison.
Both Fiacco and Macdonald were both in jail and were separately arraigned Friday via video before Romeo 42-1 District Judge Denis LeDuc.
LeDuc heard Macomb County Sheriff’s Detective Mark Morfino tell how Fiacco told investigators he and McAfee drove from Macomb Township to vacant, wooded land near 34 Mile in Bruce Township, where Fiacco claimed McAfee attacked him.
According to Morfino, Fiacco said he shot McAfee once in the stomach, and then as he lay on the ground, twice more in the back.
Investigators believe McAfee was shot multiple times but are awaiting autopsy results from the Macomb County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Fiacco returned one month later to the woods with Macdonald, “telling her he wanted to show her something,” Morfino told the judge.
Using an ax, Fiacco cut McAfee’s body in half and the pair put his head and lower extremities in a duffel bag and took them back to Fiacco’s home in Ray Township, the detective testified. He said Fiacco then buried the body parts in a shallow grave in the backyard and then burned the duffel bag in a fire pit.
A lower jaw bone and clothing was found Thursday at the scene of the shooting in a deserted lot near 34 Mile and Van Dyke in Bruce Township. Lower extremity remains and a skull were found in a shallow grave behind Fiacco’s home in Ray Township, officials said. The skull and bones have been identified as McAfee.
Some body parts are still missing, officials said, and may have been moved to other locations.
Authorities have seized the suspects’ cars and cellphones and are reviewing phone records and video, they said.
Wickersham said Fiacco has provided “several versions” of what led up to the fatal shooting “way off the beaten path” in Bruce Township.
On Friday, Fiacco told the judge he understood the charges against him. His attorney, Richard Graving, said his client stood mute to the charges. LeDuc entered a not-guilty plea for him pending a May 23 probable cause conference. No bond was given.
Macdonald also stood mute. Her attorney, William Barnwell, argued for $10,000 personal bond because of her alleged involvement and cooperation with authorities. Barnwell noted his client is a high school senior scheduled to graduate next month and already has enrolled at Macomb Community College, where she wants to study genetic engineering.
“She does not pose a risk to the community,” he said. “Her mother and grandmother are in court and she will stay with them.”
Her two relatives both dabbed at their eyes with tissues during the brief hearing.
Assistant Macomb County Prosecuting Attorney Bill Cataldo — who earlier argued against any bond for Fiacco due to the “depravity of this serious, horrible” crime — said despite Macdonald keeping the crime secret for nearly 14 months, he would not oppose some bond for Macdonald because her confiding with the eventual female tipster helped authorities.
“It was essentially her statements that started the ball rolling (to arrests),” Cataldo said.
LeDuc said he was treating the matter seriously and ordered $20,000 cash surety bond with conditions that Macdonald wear a GPS tether and have no contact with either Fiacco or McAfee’s family. She is also due back in court May 23.