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Arrest Made in 1992 Cold Case Homicide

Vista CA— In May of 1993, during an unrelated investigation, a witness came forward and reported to law enforcement that an acquaintance of theirs, Davette Gaunt of unincorporated Vista, had been missing for more than a year and they feared she had been murdered. Gaunt was entered into the system as a missing person and detectives with the Sheriff’s homicide detail began an investigation. During this initial investigation detectives were able to confirm with Gaunt’s family in Delaware, Gaunt had been living at 1123 Anza Avenue in unincorporated Vista and that they had not heard from her in more than a year. However the lack of any physical evidence at the onset of the investigation led to the case remaining unsolved for more than two decades.

In 2011 detectives with the Sheriff’s homicide detail reviewed the original case and began to re-interview past witnesses and locate potentially new witnesses. Over the past six years, detectives have uncovered evidence they believe shows that Gaunt was murdered in the Anza Avenue home in 1992 and her body, which has never been recovered, was disposed of somewhere in northern San Diego County or Riverside County.

Detectives believe the person responsible for Davette’s murder is Christopher McDonald. Gaunt and McDonald lived together at the Anza Avenue home with their young daughter at the time of her death. Gaunt and McDonald were also involved in a heated custody battle over their daughter at the time. Detectives recently presented their case to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. Based on the evidence presented, a warrant for McDonald’s arrest was issued.

Detectives from the Sheriff’s homicide detail, the San Diego County Fugitive Task Force, the U.S. Marshalls Office and the Graham County Arizona Sheriff’s Office, arrested McDonald without incident at his home in Safford Arizona on August 14, 2017. McDonald was booked into the Graham County Detention Center on the outstanding arrest warrant and is now awaiting extradition back to San Diego County to face charges for the murder of Davette Gaunt.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Homicide Detail at (858) 974-2321/after hours at (858) 565-5200. You can also remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

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