Human remains have been found in the search for a missing Wisconsin couple, and their 23-year-old son has been arrested in connection with what police called a “suspicious” disappearance.
The Dane County Sheriff’s Office announced the discovery of the remains on Friday but said the medical examiner’s office had yet to confirm whether they belonged to Bart and Krista Halderson, a couple from Windsor who were reported missing on Wednesday morning. An autopsy is scheduled for the coming weekend.
At a Friday afternoon press conference, Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett said the remains were found in a rural area on Thursday—the same day the couple’s 23-year-old son was booked into jail for allegedly providing false information about a missing person.
Chandler Halderson was the first person to report his parents missing, telling police on Wednesday that his 50-year-old father and 53-year-old mother had not been seen since July 1, nearly a week. He said they had planned to spend the Fourth of July weekend at a cabin in Langlade County with an unknown couple.
“They were picked up by their friends, who I never got the name of. I assumed it was someone I was aware of, like close neighbors of theirs up the street, or their best friends down on the east side,” Halderson told police, according to charging documents cited by Channel3000. “That’s what I assumed. I didn’t look any more into it. They got picked up and left with another couple.”
Police said they found no sign of the couple at the cabin, however. And as the search continued, authorities said they were left with many “unanswered questions” about the couple’s whereabouts. Their son, however, told local media he believed that “they’re maybe at a casino, their phones off, no reception. Maybe they’re on a boat, having some fun with their friends.”
By late Thursday, he had been charged with providing false information about a missing person and booked into the Dane County jail.
Authorities made no secret of the fact that they were viewing the case as something more sinister than an ordinary missing persons’ case.
“We definitely have some suspicions as to what actually happened,” a spokesperson for the Dane County Sheriff’s Office said late Thursday.
Police have been tight-lipped about what aspects of the 23-year-old’s story they deemed to be false. Asked on Friday to elaborate, Barrett said only that “the arrest was based on him providing false information in regards to a missing person.”
Details were also scarce on where exactly the human remains were found on Thursday and what body parts were unearthed. Barrett said interviews with “friends, family, and neighbors” of the missing couple led police to the area where the remains were found, but he declined to provide any further details, citing the ongoing investigation.
The couple’s extended family issued a statement thanking authorities for their work on the case.