Chandler Halderson is a Wisconsin man whose parents mysteriously disappeared and who prosecutors say was seen in the wooded area where his father’s dismembered remains were discovered.
You can read an updated story on the case and Halderson’s trial that includes exhibit photos here.
Halderson was initially accused of providing false information to authorities about their disappearance and was taken into custody. Police now say, “Chandler M. Halderson, age 23 of Windsor, is now being charged with First Degree Homicide, Hiding a Corpse and Mutilating a Corpse. Chandler remains in the Dane County Jail.” That’s for his father’s death, although additional human remains have been discovered. They were later identified as his mother, and he was charged with murdering her too.
The murdered couple are Bart and Krista Halderson. Chandler said he was a recent technical college graduate in computer technology who worked as a lifeguard and teaching assistant, according to his LinkedIn page. He wrote on the page that he is an Eagle Scout, which the court commissioner gave as a reason for rejecting a prosecutor’s $1 million bail request on July 12, 2021. However, it was revealed at his trial in January 2022 that prosecutors allege his mother discovered he didn’t really have a job and wasn’t really in school.
Authorities revealed in a bail hearing that Bart Halderson’s remains revealed he was shot in an act of homicide. Chandler’s mother’s legs were later found in a wooded area, according to the criminal complaint.
Chandler’s address was given as Windsor, Wisconsin. Court Commissioner Mark Fremgen initially set bail at $10,000 bail, citing Halderson’s lack of a criminal history, the lack of criminal charges, and his life-long ties to the community. He refused to order Halderson on home arrest but ordered him not to leave Dane County. He was affixed with a GPS monitor. Before becoming a court commissioner, Fremgen worked as a state public defender and criminal defense attorney in private practice, according to his LinkedIn page. However, after the criminal charges, bail was raised to $1 million.
Chandler M. Halderson, age 23, was initially “held in the Dane County Jail on a charge of providing false information in a missing person investigation. Chandler is the son of Bart and Krista,” the Dane County Sheriff’s Department wrote in a previous statement on Facebook.
“The members of Dane County Sheriff’s Office first want to extend our thoughts and prayers to the friends and family of Bart and Krista Halderson. This has been a trying and emotional time and the Dane County Sheriff’s Office is doing everything we can to bring closure and justice to this investigation,” the department noted.
Bart Halderson was a certified public accountant and tax manager in Madison, according to his LinkedIn page.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Halderson, Who Told the Media ‘We’ll Find Them,’ Reported His Parents Missing, Saying They Didn’t Return From a July 4th Holiday Weekend
It was Halderson who reported his parents missing. “We’ll find them,” Chandler Halderson said of his parents to WKOW-TV. “It’s better to not listen to the negative theories,” he says, adding that his mother texted him to say the couple arrived at their cabin safely but then vanished.
He added, “They’re maybe at a casino, their phones off, no reception. Maybe they’re on a boat, having some fun with their friends.”
“Our investigation began on Wednesday, July 7th, when Chandler reported his parents missing at approximately 11:30 am that day. According to Chandler, his parents had left their Village of Windsor home early Friday morning with an unknown couple to spend the 4th of July holiday weekend at their cabin in White Lake, WI, but did not return as expected,” the Sheriff’s Department wrote.
“Our investigators immediately began efforts to locate the Haldersons, including reaching out to the Langlade County Sheriff’s Office to check the property in White Lake, but no one was located at that residence.”
The initial missing person’s statement from authorities read:
The Dane County Sheriff’s Office is asking for assistance from the public in locating a missing couple from the Village of Windsor. Earlier today, a family member reported Bart and Krista Halderson were last seen on Thursday, July 1, 2021 at their home. They planned a trip to Langlade County, Wisconsin this weekend and family has been unable to confirm if they arrived safely. There is no vehicle associated with couple. Bart is 50 years old and Krista is 53 years old. If anyone has information on the couple, please contact the Dane County Communications Center at 608.255.2345 or the Dane County Sheriff’s Office Tip Line at 608.284.6900.
2. Prosecutors Say Halderson Told a ‘Web of Lies’ & Was Seen in the Area Where His Father’s Remains Were Found
Prosecutor William Brown told Fremgen that, when Chandler reported his parents were missing to the Sheriff’s Department, he “made a great deal of statements indicating where he thought his parents were, sending police on a wild goose chase throughout the state of Wisconsin.. he told the police a web of lies.”
Brown said that Chandler even indicated that there were messages between him and his parents when they were gone.
Eventually, he reported the parents missing after they had been gone for days at that point, said Brown. A witness who knows Chandler reported seeing Halderson’s vehicle with him in it parked at an odd location on their rural property. She reported that to police.
According to WKOW-TV, the criminal complaint states Bart Halderson’s remains were found on Chandler’s girlfriend’s family property after his girlfriend’s mother’s partner thought Chandler was going to use the pool. Instead, the partner “saw him on a portion of the property with access to a saw blade and scissors, and backing up his vehicle with the hatch up.” He’s accused of telling police he angered his father by breaking fireplace glass with a ball and that this would cause blood to be found in the house, but they didn’t find that blood.
That was on July 5, three days after his parents reportedly had left for the cabin. Police searched the wood line where Chandler was seen coming out of the woods. They found the remains of his father. They were dismembered. “They only found portions of Mr. Halderson,” said Brown.
They performed an autopsy and confirmed Bart died “by homicidal violence by gunshots. We have an extremely complex investigation. We had a defendant who had six days to hide evidence,” alleged Brown, adding, “He has lied dozens of times during the course of this investigation.”
Brown said police are “still engaged in an extremely broad search” for Krista Halderson.
He said the state was likely to file a criminal complaint on Thursday, July 15, 2021.
Defense attorney Catherine Dorl told the judge that “this may be a unique situation… but there is no unique situation exception to the requirement that if you’re going to hold someone in custody without charges either without bail or with a large amount of bail, charges need to be filed.”
Not a single charge has been levied against him in court, she said.
“What doesn’t make sense is how we can hold people based on a long narration of evidence that the state police have, that they could have reduced in writing to a criminal complaint,” she said.
She confirmed, “he’s an eagle scout. There is no indication he would flee whatsoever.”
He may be charged with homicide sooner than Thursday, the prosecutor said.
“It doesn’t appear his parents ever left this county… Mr. Halderson delayed for six days… he was hiding evidence in this case,” alleged Brown.
Police found a tarp covered in blood that the father was wrapped in. Chandler is believed to have asked others for cleaning products to clean up the crime scenes, alleged Brown.
But Fremgen highlighted the fact there was “no charging document…Mr. Halderson has led a fairly exemplary life accomplishing the rank of Eagle Scout, he has no record to speak of, he’s a life-long resident. I don’t believe it would be appropriate to set such a substantial bond in such a case with so many unknowns.”
The court commissioner stressed, “They have evidence of a death, of a body. Strong circumstantial evidence; it’s possible Mr. Halderson might have been involved.”
“As the investigation progressed and detectives interviewed friends, family and neighbors of the missing couple, information was provided which resulted in detectives finding human remains on a rural property in Dane County on Thursday, July 8th,” the Sheriff’s Department investigators wrote.
“A search warrant was obtained for the property and deputies are continuing to search that land for additional evidence.”
They added: “The Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office also responded to that scene Thursday night and will be conducting an autopsy of the remains at some point this weekend. It is important to mention that the remains have not yet been identified. This is still a very active investigation.”
On Facebook, Bart Halderson wrote that he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, graduated from Valders High School, and lived in DeForest, Wisconsin. His most recent post was from 2012 and was a graphic about a car show. No obvious social media pages could be found for Krista.
Chandler had an old Facebook page under the name Chaz Halderson but it has little visible on it, save for a group swimming photo. His profile picture showed him with a dog and wearing headphones.
The couple lived in a middle class home worth about $370,000.
3. A Relative Wrote, ‘Nothing Makes Any Sense’
A relative, Blake Halderson, wrote on the Sheriff’s Department’s comment thread, “Thank you everyone for your prayers and any help you can give in finding them. So hard waiting for updates and not being able to do anything to help. Also appreciate all the work law enforcement is doing to find Bart and Krista. We have always been big backers of the police but never thought we would be in a situation like this and need their help so much. Thank you all.”
He added, “All I can say is nothing makes any sense and we are waiting for any news. I am sure the police are doing everything possible to locate them but do appreciate all your comments and prayers.”
A woman wrote under the comment, “I was their veterinarian in Plymouth for many years. Love them, so kind, caring and gentle. Hoping beyond hope that they are found safe and well.💞”
None of the Haldersons has a criminal history in Wisconsin.
4. Halderson Gave an Interview to a Local Television Station
Before his arrest, Halderson gave an interview to Fox 47’s Adam Duxte. He said, “My last message I got from them, they were going to White Lake for the 4th of July, there’s some festivities that go around there, better drink prices at bars, stuff like that. White Lake, Wisconsin. Their plan, to my knowledge, they were going to Langlade County to a cabin, their cabin. Along the way, they could’ve stopped many places, but I wouldn’t know all of them. But it’s about 3 hours north of Madison, or Dane County.”
He added, “They brought, or they were picked up by their friends, who I never got the name of. I assumed it was someone I was aware of, like the close neighbors of theirs up the street or their best friends down on the east side, so that’s what I assumed, I never really asked any further into it. And so they got picked up and they all went up there, by like another couple.”
Read the full interview here.
5. Halderson Wrote That He Had Experience in Installing Solar Panels & ‘Lifeguarding’
On LinkedIn, Halderson wrote that he was a student at Madison Area Technical College. In 2021, he wrote that he received an associate’s degree in “Computer/Information Technology Administration and Management.”
He wrote, “The majority of my experience consists of lifeguarding and technology, but it doesn’t stop there. I have a strong understanding of solar panels and the installation process that goes with them. I also have experience in teaching and leadership from when I was a teachers assistant for an installation course at a local college.”
In 2020, he worked as a teaching assistant for two months at MATC, he wrote: “I created an online class for students to work on assignments and tests as well as assisted the instructor with teaching and held office hours for questions.”
From 2014-2017, he worked as a swim instructor at the YMCA in Sheboygan and Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, noting, “I have taught swimming at the YMCA while also being a lifeguard for 3 years.”