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Murder of Byron Wright by wife Michele Donohue profiled on Til Death Do Us Part

Police tape
Til Death Do Us Part investigating the 2004 murder of Byron Wright from Snohomish County in Washington state.

Wright’s disappearance remained a mystery for nearly a decade until the police received a tip-off, which led to the arrest of his wife, Michele Donohue.

In 2004, Michele Donohue stabbed her 53-year-old husband multiple times in the head and neck at their rural home between Maryville and Arlington, just north of Seattle, WA.

She hacked up his remains on the kitchen floor and buried him in a shallow grave. She then covered the remains in 36 yards of dirt, which acted as a slope for her daughters to sled down.

Donohoe kept Byron’s disappearance a secret for nearly a decade. She told anybody who would ask that Byron had run away with a younger woman. She said his new girlfriend was rich and that was why he’d left her with all his money and belongings.

In October 2004, she filed for divorce in absentia, claiming she couldn’t serve Byron with papers as she didn’t know his whereabouts.  Donohue helped herself to half her husband’s pension and his collection of classic automobiles.

Donohue remarried a year later, and with her new husband, she quickly burned through all of Byron’s money. She confessed the crime to her new husband, and he arranged with a couple of cronies to dig up Byron’s body and rebury it.

Nobody reported Byron Wright missing

Donohue’s crime remained undetected for so long because Byron had led such an isolated social life. He had been largely detached from his family and hadn’t remained in contact with his friends. His boss and others believed Donohue’s lies that he had run off with another woman.

The murder only came to light in 2014 when one of Donohue’s husband’s cronies, Michael Heuslein, told police about the killing. Heuslein was in custody on a separate matter when he told the police where Byron was buried.

When the police investigated, they discovered the severed remains of Byron Wright and arrested Michele on a charge of murder.

In 2014, ten years after Byron’s murder, Michele Donohue made a plea bargain with the prosecution and agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder. She was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

More from Til Death Us Do Part

Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on Til Death Us Do Part.

In another case of a wife plotting to do away with her husband, Michelle Gibson arranged for two teenagers, Erik McBee and Karen Molina-Pompa, and her own son Steven Gibson Jr to murder her husband Steven Gibson Sr. The three teenagers beat, stabbed, and slashed the throat of their victim.

Donna Thorngren shot her husband, Curtis ‘Curt’ Thorngren, three times at their home in Meridian, Idaho, and then tried to stage the incident like a burglary. Her motive stemmed from a wish to collect from a $320,000 life insurance policy.

Til Death Do Us Part airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

Jerry was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, but is now based in the UK. He specializes in true crime and entertainment news stories. When... read more
Jerry Brown


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