OLALLA, Wash – Police in Pierce County on Friday arrested an attempted murder suspect who investigators say tried to kill his girlfriend.
Kitsap County sheriff’s deputies asked for the public’s help in locating the suspect, 37-year-old Moses Wesley MacDonald; they released his name and picture and later announced that he had been arrested in Tacoma.
Detectives accuse MacDonald of trying to kill his girlfriend, Hope Canto, and then burning down her travel trailer in Olalla over the 4th of July holiday.
Canto says she is covered in bruises and her neck is in pain after the alleged fight with MacDonald, adding she is also shaken after police say her boyfriend tried to kill her. Canto said it all began as an argument over her new travel trailer.
“I lost all the memories of my children in there,” she said, alluding to the charred metal and a burned-out shell of an SUV, which is all that remains of Canto’s belongings.
Kitsap County sheriff’s deputies say MacDonald intentionally set fire to her truck and trailer after a physical altercation reached the level of second-degree attempted murder.
“He grabbed my hair and put his knee in my back,” recalled Canto. “He smothered my face real hard and had this demonic look in his face and started retching on my neck really hard and it kept popping. I thought this was it.”
Canto says images of her two children popped into her head and gave her the strength to fight off her attacker and seek shelter in a neighbor’s home. She believes the fight began with an argument over trying to park her new trailer.
“It was stupid because he wouldn’t let me to park my own camper the way I wanted,” she claimed.
Investigators say Canto’s neighbors fired two warning shots to convince MacDonald to leave – but they say he returned later in the night and set her trailer and truck ablaze.
By Friday morning, deputies said MacDonald had been arrested in Pierce County.
Now Canto and her sister are struggling to overcome what could have happened, had Hope not fought off her attacker and sought safety in her neighbor’s home.
“I hope they put him away for the maximum,” said Michelle Bone. “I hope that’s life because he almost took hers.”
Canto said other women should take notice of red flags when first meeting a new potential mate, especially online like she did. She believes that tactic could have saved her a lot of fear and pain after her run-in with her new boyfriend.
Bone started an online fundraising campaign to help her sister get back on her feet.
MacDonald could see a judge on Monday.