Stabbing Victim Reported 'an Evil Spirit' in Western Washington Caregiver Before He Cut Her Neck


A Bellingham man suspected of stabbing the 87-year-old Whatcom County woman he had taken care of for years reportedly told her "you're going to die tonight," before cutting across her throat and stabbing her in the neck.

The Whatcom County Sheriff's Office booked Joshua John McDonald, 29, into Whatcom County Jail early Monday, April 25, and jail records show he is being held in lieu of $1.5 million bail. Whatcom County Superior Court documents show McDonald was charged with attempted first-degree murder later Monday.

Deputies were called at 11:51 p.m. Sunday, April 24, to the victim's home on Hannegan Road for a report of a stabbing, according to court documents, after McDonald called 911 and stated he had a "psychotic break and stabbed (the victim) in the neck."

Court documents described the victim as an 87-year-old woman and that McDonald had worked as her full-time caregiver for "several years."

McDonald was first certified as a nursing assistant in 2019, according to the Washington State Department of Health's credential records, but that certification expired Aug. 8, 2021.

A caregiver cannot practice without certification, Department of Health spokesperson Frank Ameduri told The Bellingham Herald in an email, adding that a case management team will review this incident.

According to court documents, McDonald told 911 dispatchers that the victim "should be gone," and that he had wheeled her wheelchair outside and stabbed her in the neck with a knife, adding that he "started to slit her throat, stopped, then at another point picked up the knife and stabbed it directly into (the victim's) neck."

Deputies found an 8.5-inch kitchen knife with some blood on it on the ground in front of the home when they arrived, court documents state, and McDonald called out from inside the home and was taken into custody outside. The victim was found inside the home with a bleeding cut across her neck and a stab wound on the left side of her neck.

The victim was taken to the hospital, where doctors found the cuts across her neck and a stab wound were relatively shallow.

Deputies interviewed the victim at the hospital, and according to court documents she reported:

— At some point during the night, McDonald said, "there are some confusing things happening inside my brain," then went outside to smoke a cigarette.

— McDonald came back inside and took a couple of shots of alcohol, before he went back outside.

— McDonald returned with a completely different demeanor, making several unusual statements to the victim, such as "do you know who I am" and that he was "all kinds of powerful." The victim reported she saw "an evil spirit in him."

— McDonald told the victim, "you're going to die tonight."

— McDonald then wheeled the victim outside, down a ramp and onto the driveway in front of the house and left her outside. He returned with a knife and told the victim he was going to cut her throat, which he proceeded to do.

— McDonald returned back into the house, before returning, telling the victim he was going to hurt her and stabbing her on the left side of her neck.

— McDonald went back into the house, only to return and cut the victim's throat a third time, leaving a smaller, horizontal cut near the base of the victim's neck.

— McDonald again went inside the house and shut the door, and the victim reported hearing crashing inside the house.

— McDonald returned and told the victim, "you're going to die by midnight tonight." He then wheeled her back inside the home, where the victim noticed that the TV had been broken and a few cameras inside the home had been pulled out.

— The victim and McDonald sat in the living room talking, and the victim reported that McDonald's demeanor changed and he said he would call the police.

Court records show McDonald is scheduled to be arraigned May 6.