Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald

The Fairy Tale

In February of 1970 things were going very well for Green Beret doctor Jeffrey MacDonald and for his wife Colette and their two young daughters.  Over finally were the years of financial hardship and punishing long hours of work during medical school and internship, of living with parents, of getting along on a very tight budget.  A rosy, financially secure and socially comfortable future stretched out before them.  Best of all, at least from Colette's point of view, there was very little chance that he would be shipped off to Vietnam after all.


A few months earlier, Colette wrote some friends on a Christmas card:  "We are having a great, all expense paid vacation in the Army.  It looks as if Jeff will be here in North Carolina for the entire two years, which is an immense load off my mind at least.  Life has never been so normal nor so happy.  Jeff is home every day at 5 and most days even comes home for lunch.  By the way, been having such a good time lately that we are expecting a son in July."

The plan was that someday they would live on a farm with five children and horses and rabbits and all kinds of pets.  First came the delicate and feminine little Kimberly who was five years old.  Then came independent-minded Kristen who was two. Then finally a little boy was on the way.

Their fairy tale life was taking shape:  handsome, hardworking, brilliant Jeffrey MacDonald had been the quarterback of the high school football team, president of the student council, and voted by his peers as the most popular student and the one most likely to succeed.  And succeed he did.  After Princeton, he graduated from Northwestern University Medical School and did his internship in the prestigious Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City.

Colette & Jeffrey MacDonald
Colette & Jeffrey MacDonald

He married the girl he dated in high school, the attractive and intelligent Colette Stevenson, who had attended Skidmore College while he was at Princeton.

Shortly after they began dating steadily, Kimberly was conceived and their marriage had to be moved up a few years.  The timing wasn't ideal, but they were very much in love and would manage somehow.

After his medical training MacDonald joined the Army and was later accepted into the famous Green Berets.  They were stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.


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