Two charged with Woodland motel strangulation

WOODLAND — Two people were charged Wednesday with the murder of a 46-year-old Davis woman at the Dunton Motel in Woodland.

Aretha Goldine McDonald, a resident of the 1000 block of Olive Drive in Davis, died of strangulation, Yolo County Chief Deputy Coroner Robert LaBrash said Thursday. She also had suffered blunt force injuries to her head.

Several hours after police discovered McDonald’s body, homicide detectives arrested Woodland residents Susan Marie Sheppard, 31, and 40-year-old Fillemon Alfonso Aragon Jr. Their arrests were announced Thursday morning.

Both suspects are being held without bail at the Yolo County Jail. They were scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. Friday in Yolo Superior Court.

A motive in the homicide case remains under investigation, and Woodland police Sgt. Anthony Cucchi said more arrests are possible.

“I don’t know how deep this thing goes,” he said.

Police discovered the homicide shortly after 8:30 a.m. after a man walked into the Woodland police station and asked for a welfare check on a woman in apartment 14 of the Dunton Motel on West Street. McDonald’s body was on the floor.

Cucchi would not say whether it was Aragon who requested the welfare check.

The room had been rented to Sheppard, who has stayed at the Dunton Motel off and on for some time, according to manager Anantrai Shah.

Cucchi did not disclose the nature of the relationship between McDonald and the suspects.

Court records in Yolo and Sacramento counties show both Sheppard and Aragon have had previous run-ins with law enforcement. Both were scheduled to appear in Yolo Superior Court in the next couple of weeks, though online records don’t indicate the charges they faced.

In Sacramento County, Sheppard was arrested in 2004 for assault with a deadly weapon, late receiving jail time and three years’ probation in exchange for a no-contest plea. A 2001 robbery case against her was dismissed, according to court records.

Aragon had a 2001 drunken driving arrest and received three years’ probation after pleading no contest, court records show.

Police are asking anyone with information about this case to contact them at (530) 666-2411 or (530) 661-7800. Callers may remain anonymous.


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