Science

Girlfriend’s Snapchat helps police bust mysterious double murder

In July 2021, Dane County Sheriff’s Detectives Sabrina Sims and Brian Shank were assigned to investigate the disappearances of the Windsor, Wisconsin, couple Bart and Krista Halderson. Her 23-year-old son, Chandler, who reported her missing, told police they had gone to the family cabin on the Fourth of July holiday weekend, but never returned.

Bart and Krista Halderson
Bart and Krista Halderson

Dane County Sheriff’s Office


Bart and Krista Halderson were proud parents of two sons, Michelle, 24, who worked in tech, and Chandler, 23, who was studying for an IT degree in college and living at home. Chandler had big dreams and was excited to land a lucrative job with SpaceX, which was owned by one of the world’s richest men, Elon Musk.

Everything seemed to be going well for Halderson, so when the couple went missing there was real concern. “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty reports how detectives solved the case in “The Snapchat Clue,” airing Saturday 10/9c on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.

Police interviewed neighbours, friends and family and they were finally discharged. Chandler’s girlfriend, Katherine “Kat” Melander, allowed investigators to download data from her phone. Sims heard that Chandler had cheated on Melander before, so she would keep an eye on him via Snapchat. The popular app allows users to track the location of their friends in real time. Early on July 3, Melander opened the app and saw Chandler in a remote location near the Wisconsin River and saved a screenshot of him.

Chandler Halderson Snapchat Clues
A screenshot from Kat Melander’s Snapchat app, showing her boyfriend Chandler Halderson at a remote location near the Wisconsin River, days after her parents went missing.

Dane County Clerk of Courts


The app had placed Chandler in a remote location when his parents were missing. The spies later decided to search the area and to their surprise, they discovered human remains. The remains belonged to Chandler’s missing mother, Krista Halderson.

The remains of Chandler’s father, Bart Halderson, were discovered on a farm located about 20 miles from Halderson’s home. The ranch owner told the detectives that she was surprised to see Chandler on his property. He told the police that he saw him coming out of the wooden line of the field. When the deputy searched the area, they found Bart’s remains. Bart Halderson was shot in the back at least twice.

Chandler Halderson was accused of murdering his parents, Bart and Krista. He was also accused of breaking them and lying to the police. He pleaded not guilty.

But why would Chandler kill his parents?

His trial began in January 2022. Prosecutors told the jury that Chandler murdered his parents because they found out he was lying to them.

Prosecutors presented evidence that Chandler, without his parents knowing, had dropped out of college. And that job at SpaceX? It was made. Prosecutors believe that on the day Chandler murdered his parents, his father had scheduled a meeting for the two of them to meet in college, which he claimed was attending. .

Prosecutors also showed the jury a video captured by a neighbor’s security camera on the day they believed Bart and Krista were killed. There was a twinkling of light from the window of Halderson’s house. Prosecutors say the twinkling lights came from Halderson’s chimney. A forensic expert later testified that more than 200 human bone fragments had been discovered in Halderson’s chimney.


“48 Hours” investigates disappearance of married Wisconsin couple

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Chandler Halderson’s defense team argued that prosecutors did not have enough evidence to prove their case. He claims that no one really knows what happened inside Halderson’s house or how Bart and Krista were killed. Chandler did not testify at trial.

After two hours of deliberation, a jury found Chandler Halderson guilty of all charges. Upon sentencing, Chandler told the judge he had something to say and asked if any lawyers were willing to consider his appeal.

Chandler was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. He has a new lawyer, but he hasn’t filed an appeal yet.

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