Remains of David Heisler escorted home to Southern Utah

ST. GEORGE — One hundred and 10 days after disappearing from his Santa Clara home – with news to follow of his heinous death that would shake the Southern Utah community to its core – David Heisler was escorted back to Washington County where he will be laid to rest later this month.

David Heisler arrived “home” to Utah in a prepossessing blue casket to a crowd gathered to welcome him home and honor his memory by releasing 110 teal helium balloons – one for every day he was gone, St. George, Utah, Oct. 14, 2016 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News
David Heisler arrived “home” to Utah in a prepossessing blue casket to a crowd gathered to welcome him home and honor his memory by releasing 110 teal helium balloons – one for every day he was gone, St. George, Utah, Oct. 14, 2016 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

After 30-year-old David Heisler was abducted from his home June 27, an extensive seven-and-a-half-week search ensued before coming to an end Aug. 18 after Heisler’s body was discovered by a geologist in the Mt. Trumbull region of the Arizona Strip.

Since that time, David Heisler’s remains have been held at an Arizona medical examiner’s office as pathologists worked to determine an official cause of death. Nearly two months later, officials announced they would be releasing his remains to his family.

David Heisler’s body arrived “home” to Utah Friday evening with a procession led by Serenity Funeral Home and escorted by the Santa Clara Police Department.

The procession took Heisler’s body past his home in Santa Clara before proceeding to the funeral home in St. George where community members – many wearing teal-colored shirts that read “#HeislerStrong” and “#MariahsArmy” – were gathered in welcome and to show support to his family.

David Heisler arrived “home” to Utah in a prepossessing blue casket to a crowd gathered to welcome him home and honor his memory by releasing 110 teal helium balloons – one for every day he was gone, St. George, Utah, Oct. 14, 2016 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News
David Heisler arrived “home” to Utah in a prepossessing blue casket to a crowd gathered to welcome him home and honor his memory by releasing 110 teal helium balloons – one for every day he was gone, St. George, Utah, Oct. 14, 2016 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

Friday’s homecoming was bittersweet as family, friends and supporters cheered for David Heisler’s return home, while simultaneously shedding tears over the tragic loss of his life.

David Heisler’s remains rested in a prepossessing blue casket with silver accents as the crowd honored his memory by releasing 110 teal helium balloons – one for every day he was gone.

Debbie Heisler, David Heisler’s step-mother, said the experience has been a “double-edged sword.”

“It’s been very tragic and very hard, and, at the same time, the community has reached out and helped us – even in ways we didn’t even know we needed to be helped,” Debbie Heisler said, “and even though we resisted their help, everybody has reached out. It has been absolutely amazing as far as that goes.”

David Heisler with his daughter Mariah, location and date unspecified | Photo courtesy of the Justice for David Heisler Facebook page, St. George News
David Heisler with his daughter Mariah, location and date unspecified | Photo courtesy of the Justice for David Heisler Facebook page, St. George News

Since David Heisler’s disappearance, his father, Kenneth Heisler, and step-mother have been raising his daughter, Mariah. Mariah’s mother was arrested and charged for her alleged involvement in David Heisler’s kidnapping along with two other suspects.


Read more: Bullet casing, blood found in David Heisler’s car; ex-girlfriend admits involvement in disappearance


Debbie Heisler said Mariah understands the magnitude of what happened and that her step-granddaughter is going through counseling to help her cope with the difficult situation.

“(Mariah) has lots of people that love her and just really want to see her get through it and not turn into a victim because of it – and we refuse to ever let that happen,” Debbie Heisler said. “We’re going to make something positive of it – I don’t know what it is yet, but we will.”

Funeral services will be held Oct. 29 at the Shepherd of the Hills United Methodist Church in St. George. David Heisler will be laid to rest at the Santa Clara Cemetery.

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Email: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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5 Comments

  • ladybugavenger October 15, 2016 at 10:19 am

    This is a horrific event for a family to go through.

    All religion aside, the outpouring of support and love is what makes St George a special community.

    • .... October 15, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      Yes it does Ladybug. St George is a wonderful community to live in. this was so wonderful the way we came together to say welcome home. it was a very loving and spiritual gathering of friends and loved ones. R.I.P David …

  • Chiefs Fan October 15, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    My thoughts are with the family, friends and most importantly his beautiful daughter as they grieve this tragic loss. May justice be served! I’m so sorry for your loss.

  • Kimi October 16, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Can people please STOP releasing balloons into the sky for every little thing. Its bad for the environment. It ends up in ocean and kills wildlife.
    We only have one Earth. Let’s respect and take care of it.

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