TIMELINE: Breaking down the details in the Halderson investigation
MADISON, Wis. — In the nine days since Bart and Krista Halderson were first reported missing, authorities discovered human remains in two separate Dane County locations and arrested and charged the couple’s son with Bart’s death.
New details shared in the criminal complaint shed light on authorities’ continued investigation into Bart’s and Krista’s deaths. Here is a timeline of the investigation and case, according to officials.
The day Chandler Halderson said he last saw his parents.
The day Chandler said his parents, Bart and Krista Halderson, left for a Fourth of July weekend trip to White Lake, Wisconsin. Chandler claimed his parents left around 5 a.m. with a couple he couldn’t name.
A criminal complaint filed against Chandler said Krista was supposed to be at work that day. She had not called in to say she’d be gone, which a coworker said was unusual. A coworker and another person stopped by the Haldersons’ home and saw both cars still in the garage. They met Chandler at the side door of the garage, who had just gotten out of the shower and had gauze or a bandage over a big toe.
Chandler told the two that he had cut his toe on broken glass after breaking the fireplace while throwing a ball to the family’s dogs, and said there was “blood everywhere” inside the house because of the cut. Neither person said they saw blood inside the home.
A woman reportedly saw a man matching Chandler’s description on a patch of DNR land near Roxbury. The woman reported what she saw to Dane County authorities, and human remains were later found in the area on July 14.
The day Chandler told authorities he last heard from his parents, claiming he got a text from Krista Halderson at about 11 a.m.
Chandler said Krista told him they were going to White Lake for a parade and they would be home either Monday night or Tuesday morning. Authorities later determined there was no parade held in White Lake on July 4. Chandler told another person he had “gotten a hold of (Bart and Krista)” and that they were expected back on Tuesday.
Chandler visits a property in Cottage Grove where the resident said she saw him acting despondent after spotting him and his vehicle near a shed by a wood line on the property. The woman told authorities on July 8 that she had seen vultures flying over the property “sometime in the last week.” Authorities later found Bart’s partial remains in the same area the woman saw Chandler.
Chandler reported his parents missing with the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, walking up to the Dane County Sheriff’s Northeast Precinct at about 11:25 a.m. Authorities sent out a missing persons alert and began investigating. Detectives interviewed Chandler at his parents’ home later that night and noticed both of Chandler’s parents’ cars were still in the garage.
Chandler showed detectives around the house as part of the interview, and one of the detectives noted a missing piece of glass in the fireplace. Chandler told the investigators the same explanation he gave the people who came to the home on July 2 about the dogs breaking the glass, and said a piece of glass got stuck in his left big toe. Authorities noted the injury did not look recent.
Detectives visit the property Chandler visited on July 5 and get permission from the property owner to search the area. A human torso is found in the area where Chandler was seen with the hatch open on an SUV, buried under a pile of branches. A pair of scissors, saw blade and bolt cutters were found hidden in a nearby water tank.
Chandler Halderson spoke with News 3 Now and said he’s unsure if his parents made it to their destination. He refused to appear on camera but allowed the conversation to be recorded.
On the afternoon of July 8, Chandler visited a neighbor’s home that had a Ring doorbell installed, and allegedly asked the neighbor if the Ring camera would have captured video of the road or his house. The neighbor sent the videos of the conversation to police.
The night of July 8, Dane County authorities interviewed Chandler again, this time at the Public Safety Building. Toward the end of the interview, Chandler asked for a lawyer and detectives arrested him for allegedly providing them with false information regarding the investigation into his parents’ disappearance.
As detectives walked him out to be booked into jail, Chandler allegedly offered multiple times to “tell them everything,” and also said they didn’t know “the whole story.” During the course of the booking questionnaire, Chandler also reportedly said he “didn’t feel bad about what I did.”
Deputies noted Chandler had bruising on the lower parts of his legs and knee areas, and scratches on the lower legs like he had walked through berry or briar bushes. Authorities noted in the criminal complaint that the human remains were found in an area with berry or briar bushes.
An autopsy is conducted on the human remains found on the Cottage Grove property. The medical examiner determined the remains belonged to Bart Halderson, and that he had died by homicide. It was also determined Bart Halderson was shot in the abdominal cavity with a rifle, with the bullet hitting his spinal cord before fragmenting. Doctors determined the injuries would have been fatal.
Meanwhile, a detective spoke with a woman who saw a person matching Chandler’s description walking along Old Highway 60 in the Town of Roxbury, near DNR land along the Wisconsin River on July 3. A photograph of Chandler was also taken near the DNR land, confirming he was in the area where more human remains were later found.
Detectives speak with an air conditioning repairman who had visited the home on July 7 for a previously scheduled quote arranged by Bart Halderson. The repairman said Chandler was hesitant to let him into the home.
The Dane County Medical Examiner publicly identifies the human remains as belonging to Bart Halderson.
Chandler makes his first court appearance where he’s held on a $10,000 cash bond on charges that he lied about the investigation. Prosecutors had asked he be held on a $1 million bond saying they planned to file murder charges against him later that week.
Later that night, Dane County authorities added pending charges of first-degree intentional homicide, mutilating a corpse and hiding a corpse to Chandler’s jail records.
A search of the Haldersons’ home finds a 7.62×39 shell casing, consistent with what would have been fired from an SKS rifle that had been given to Chandler by a friend.
Dane County authorities discover more human remains in the area where a woman said she saw someone fitting Chandler’s description on July 3. The remains are sent to the medical examiner.
Chandler is formally charged with the murder of his father. He is also charged with mutilating a corpse, hiding a corpse and lying about a missing persons investigation. Bail was set at $1 million.
Sheriff Barrett said during a press conference that the Dane County Sheriff’s Office had obtained a photo of Chandler in the area where law enforcement found human remains on July 14.
Authorities say they’ve been searching a landfill in Johnson Creek over the last several days as part of their investigation, while they continue to search and process the Haldersons’ home in Windsor.
Members of the Dane County Sheriff’s Department get the help of the DNR and the Madison Police Department to search and begin draining a pond near the Haldersons’ home after cadaver dogs marked the area for divers to search.
Human remains are found in the Halderson home, but are not able to be identified immediately.
Court officials find there’s enough evidence for the case against Chandler to move forward, and he is bound over for trial. His arraignment is set for Aug. 13.
The Dane County Sheriff’s Office announces the human remains found near the Wisconsin River in the Town of Roxbury on July 14 belong to Krista Halderson. Authorities say they will pursue a second homicide charge against Chandler Halderson in Krista’s death, as well as potential charges of mutilating a corpse and hiding a corpse.
Chandler is formally charged with killing his mother, Krista Halderson, nearly a month after authorities first identified Krista’s remains. New details from an updated criminal complaint show that Halderson searched for news about a “dismembered body” hours before law enforcement had discovered his father’s remains.
Chandler appears in Dane County court for his arraignment and pleads not guilty to all eight charges he’s facing for his parents’ murder. A judge entered the pleas on Chandler’s behalf as he sat silent.
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