The Dane County Medical Examiner announced Monday that it has identified human remains found in the Town of Cottage Grove and the Sheriff‘’s Office is now pursuing a homicide investigation in the Village of Windsor.
A spare handful of comments in a bond hearing on Monday afternoon have suggested violent details at the heart of the cryptic statements offered by Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett in a press conference on July 9 as he gave updates on the search for two missing Windsor residents last seen on July 1.
On July 7, Bart Halderson, 50, and Krista Halderson, 53, of Windsor, were reported missing. The report was made by their 23-year-old son Chandler Halderson.
On July 9 the Dane County Sheriff’s Office announced that human remains had been found and Chandler Halderson was in custody for providing false information to law enforcement. The following Monday, those remains were identified by the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office as belonging to Bart Halderson. Krista Halderson remains missing.
In a press conference at the Dane County Sheriff Office’s Northeast Precinct in Windsor, Barrett told reporters Monday afternoon that the Medical Examiner’s report found that Bart Halderson had died of “homicidal violence, including firearm injury,” turning the missing persons case to a homicide investigation.
“We want to extend our deepest condolences to the Halderson family,” said Barrett, “and we understand that some of the details of this investigation may be difficult for them to hear and we want to respect that at this point in the investigation.”
Barrett went on to ask for the public’s help in locating Krista Halderson, saying that “no tip is too small.”
A little over an hour earlier Chandler Halderson made an initial appearance in Dane County Circuit Court, which was notable in that he was not being charged with a crime, and also that the District Attorney’s Office was requesting $1 million cash bail be set.
“It is an interesting request, I understand, and it is a high amount,” said Deputy District Attorney William Brown, “but this is a unique situation and the court is probably going to need to assess.”
When Chandler Halderson reported his parents were missing, according to the Brown, “he made a great deal of statements” about where his parents might be, sending police on a “wild goose chase” around Wisconsin.
“A witness that personally knows Mr. Halderson and has seen him on many occasions who lives in rural Dane County reported seeing Mr. Halderson’s vehicle, with him in it, parked in an odd location on a wood line on their property,” said Brown, noting that the incident was on July 5, what would seem three days since the couple went missing.
***Following details maybe disturbing for some readers***
Police searched the area and subsequently found what would later be identified as the remains of Bart Halderson.
The particular phrasing of the Sheriff’s earlier update led reporters at the July 9 press conference to ask what was meant by “remains,” and why there would be difficulty in identification. The answer came from the District Attorney’s Office on Monday.
“The remains, unfortunately, had been dismembered,” said Brown, “they only found portions of Mr. Halderson.”
In the autopsy “of what was available,” according to the Brown, the Medical Examiner was also able to determine Bart Halderson had also suffered gunshot wounds.
“For those reasons the state is likely to file additional charges in the coming days,” said Brown, “however it is very early in this investigation, so we are asking for a high cash bail.”
Defense attorney Catherine Dorl pointed out that there is no “unique situation” exemption to the requirement that if someone is to be held in custody, charges need to be filed. If charges were to arrive as late as July 15, as the prosecution suggested, Chandler Halderson would be in jail for a full week before being charged with any crime.
“What doesn’t make sense is how we can hold people based on a long narration of state believes they have,” said Dorl, “that they could have reduced in writing to a criminal complaint and actually charged someone with some crime.”
When the complaint is filed, it could very well be amended, have counts dropped or have others added, she pointed out. “But we don’t detain people without charges being filed, it’s sort of a bedrock of what we do in the United States.”
Although he is the center of grave suspicions, Dorl pointed out that Chandler Halderson does not have any other criminal record--”he’s an Eagle Scout.”
Judge Mark Fremgen ordered Halderson to be held on $10,000 cash bond, with a follow-up hearing scheduled for Thursday for potential announcement of charges and alteration of bond.