Investigators testify on discovery of mother’s remains in Chandler Halderson trial

MADISON, Wis. — Members of the Dane County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin DNR recounted their discovery of human remains near the Wisconsin River during the fourth day of the Chandler Halderson homicide trial Friday afternoon.

“Initially there was the smell of it,” Dane County Sheriff’s Office tactical response team member Kevin Gruber said during his testimony.

His team and wardens from the Wisconsin DNR teamed up on July 14 to search the public land along the Wisconsin River in the Town of Roxbury, at the northwest border of Dane County.

Eventually, they came across a group of items of interest.

“It being a wooded area, it was not immediately apparent what that would have been,” Gruber said. “And that’s when another member that was out searching went closer.”

It was a group of body parts.

“When I approached it, I saw toes and a foot and a part of a leg, so I knew I had found human remains at that point,” said DNR conservation warden Ryan Caputo.

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Dane County Sheriff’s Office Deputy James Plenty testified they found three body parts close enough that they were touching each other: a right leg from the foot up to where the hip socket would be, a left foot cut just above the ankle, and another item later identified as an upper thigh.

The human remains were collected into a body bag by the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office. DNA testing later revealed they belonged to Krista Halderson.

The remains were found about two weeks after she went missing and when prosecutors allege she was killed by her son.

Unlike Thursday, when prosecutors showed the jury images of Bart Halderson’s dismembered body on the court room’s projector screen, they instead handed out printouts of Krista Halderson’s remains to the jury on Friday.

MORE: Full coverage of the Chandler Halderson homicide investigation and trial — live stream, previous stories, timelines and interviews

Prosecutors say the area where the remains were found was the same area Chandler Halderson’s girlfriend testified she saw his location marked at on July 3, and the same area where another witness testified seeing a thin white man with dark hair wearing a hat and carrying a backpack that same day.

The trial will begin its second week on Monday morning. Prosecutors have said they expect their case to go into the third week of the trial. The judge in the case said before adjourning Friday that the case appears to be proceeding on time.

You can watch the entire trial streaming on, Channel3000+ streaming apps and on our Channel3000 Facebook and YouTube pages.