Two suspects were arrested Thursday in connection with a grisly dismemberment that left body parts in Sutter County.
Sutter County Sheriff J. Paul Parker said Michael Shaine Dwayne Gold
, 39, was arrested in Grants Pass, Ore., by police and Sutter County detectives.
A few hours later, Lela Kathryn McDonald
, 57, was arrested at her West Sacramento home.
The victim was Elmer Eugene McDonald
, 60, Lela McDonald's husband, Parker said.
Gold is Lela McDonald's son and Elmer McDonald's stepson, the sheriff said.
"In April, we hit their house in West Sacramento and recovered evidence, namely a considerable amount of dried blood and the DNA of victim McDonald," Parker said. "We found blood in other places in the house."
Parker said arrest warrants for McDonald and Gold were issued about three weeks ago.
"We've had them under surveillance since then. We were trying to see what we could see," the sheriff said. "This was complicated to trace this back the way it was."
Both suspects were charged with destruction of evidence and being an accessory to a felony. Murder charges have not been filed.
The case began Nov. 22 when a severed leg was found in southern Sutter County. Forensic pathologists determined the leg appeared to have been removed during a medical procedure, Sutter County authorities said.
Sutter County sheriff's detectives decided to pursue the case on two fronts, one as a possible homicide and the other as an unlawful disposal of medical waste, sheriff's officials said.
On Feb. 26, sheriff's deputies discovered a decomposed torso, minus the head, along with severed arms and legs floating in the Sacramento River in southern Sacramento County.
The grisly discoveries continued on March 13 when two fishermen found two more decomposed arms down river from Beer Can Beach. The next day, detectives found a decomposed severed head in the same area where the arms were discovered.
Later in March, DNA tests confirmed the leg found in November and the torso found on Feb. 26 are from the same person. DNA results are still pending in regard to the arms and head, officials said.
"We're confident that the homicide happened in the house that they shared," Parker said. "It's actually a mobile home. We found a considerable amount of blood in the house.
Sutter County sheriff's deputies said they initially contacted Gold on Nov. 15 after he was seen in the Beer Can Beach area with what appeared to be blood on his hands.
He told a deputy he was searching for a fishing spot and had cut himself in a fall. Gold, who had fishing gear in his truck, along with rope and plastic bags, was questioned briefly and given a warning about a broken license plate light on his truck.
About a week later, Gold "traded that truck off to someone in Oregon," Parker said.
When detectives eventually contacted Lela McDonald, they noted she "had not reported (her husband) missing,"