WAYNE — The case against a Prichard, West Virginia, man accused of killing his wife and then hiding her dead body in the trunk of a car is expected to be presented to a grand jury next month.
Donald Ray Herald Sr., 58, who is charged with concealment of a deceased human body and first-degree murder, faced a preliminary evidence hearing in Wayne County Magistrate Court on Tuesday.
According to Wayne County court officials, probable cause was found during the hearing for the case to move forward. The evidence is likely to be presented to a grand jury in November for possible indictment.
A criminal complaint filed in Wayne County Magistrate Court said Herald was charged Oct. 6 after Wayne County deputies found his wife — Marcella Herald — dead in the trunk of a car at the couple’s home at 635 Centerville Road in Prichard.
Deputies made the discovery while following up on a missing person’s report after Marcella Herald’s niece called police concerned because she had not heard from her aunt since Sept. 11 and was worried Donald Herald had harmed the woman.
No one appeared to be home when officers initially went to the Centerville Road home, but deputies decided to obtain a search warrant after smelling a foul odor. When they returned, they entered the home and found it to be in good condition and clean with no odor, according to the complaint.
When the odor was detected again once the deputies returned outside, they searched the property, finding a silver Pontiac GTO in the backyard. In the vehicle’s trunk they found a brown bag, which contained the badly decomposed body of Marcella Herald.
During their search, deputies said Herald drove onto the property, but left after seeing police. He was later found at a cousin’s home.
Deputies say Herald told officers he had gotten into an argument with his wife, which resulted in him punching her behind her rib cage. He said he only remembered waking up the next morning on the kitchen floor to find Marcella Herald dead. He said he hid her body because he was scared, according to the criminal complaint.
Herald is housed at Western Regional Jail in Barboursville.