EXCLUSIVE: Officials search area where assailant says he left David Heisler alive

ST. GEORGE — Authorities spent the day Thursday and continue Friday searching a portion of the Arizona Strip in the region of Mt. Trumbull where 30-year-old David Heisler, who was allegedly assaulted and kidnapped from his Santa Clara home June 27, was allegedly left alive.

Mohave County Sheriff's search and rescue team, Arizona Department of Public Safety (helicopter) and personnel from Southern Utah agencies spent Thursday searching a portion of the Arizona Strip near Mt. Trumbull for 30-year-old David Heisler. Heisler went missing from his Santa Clara home June 27 and two suspects have since confessed to abducting him. Francis Lee McCard allegedly told police he dropped Heisler off in the desert location, being searched, alive. Arizona Strip, Arizona, July 7, 2016 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News
Mohave County Sheriff’s search and rescue team, Arizona Department of Public Safety (helicopter) and personnel from Southern Utah agencies spent Thursday searching a portion of the Arizona Strip near Mt. Trumbull for missing 30-year-old David Heisler, Arizona Strip, Arizona, July 7, 2016 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

As of Friday midday, David Heisler had not been found, Mohave County Sheriff’s Public Information Specialist Patricia Carter said.

Mohave County Sheriff’s Office is conducting the search in the area of Mt. Trumbull in Arizona, as the assisting agency to the primary investigation. The sheriff said the male suspect – Francis Lee McCard – told Santa Clara-Ivins Police Department the specific location where he had allegedly left David Heisler alive, Carter said.

A low-flying helicopter searched the vast, rugged expanses of the desert area on the Arizona Strip in a grid pattern Thursday.

play-arrow  See EXCLUSIVE video of Thursday search efforts in progress at the top of this report.

Currently, there are five deputies and a search and rescue crew sergeant engaged in the effort as well as Mohave County Sheriff’s search and rescue volunteers, Carter said. If the search goes on through the day and following, the sheriff indicated he may either relieve some or bring more search personnel in to aid in the search. 

Arizona Department of Public Safety gave aerial support in Thursday's search of a portion of the Arizona Strip near Mt. Trumbull for 30-year-old David Heisler. Heisler was allegedly assaulted and then abducted from his Santa Clara, Utah, home June 27 and two suspects have since been arrested. Suspect Francis Lee McCard allegedly told police he dropped Heisler off alive in the desert location, being searched. Arizona Strip, Arizona, July 7, 2016 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News
Arizona Department of Public Safety gave aerial support in Thursday’s search of a portion of the Arizona Strip near Mt. Trumbull for 30-year-old David Heisler, who was allegedly assaulted and then abducted from his Santa Clara, Utah, home June 27. Suspect Francis McCard allegedly told police he dropped Heisler off alive in the desert location, being searched, Arizona Strip, Arizona, July 7, 2016 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

Arizona Department of Public Safety has assisted in the search with helicopter aerial support.

Besides being a desert wilderness area, there are some structures, homes and others, dotted across the general region.

“We’re searching everything in that area,” Carter said. “We include everything.”

The sheriff said David Heisler could have gotten picked up by someone too,” she said. “We don’t know, we’re out there working the scene.”

Sheriff’s deputies and search and rescue crews remained in the region Thursday night, some at the primary search location to preserve any evidence that may be there. The Sheriff’s Office is asking people not to come out uninvited to try to help with the search as it may compromise evidence.

“We say: ‘thank you, but no,'” Carter said. “‘We want to preserve the scene, let us do our job.'”

Background

Kelley Marie Perry, of Washington, Utah, booking photo posted July 5, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News
Kelley Marie Perry, of Washington, Utah, booking photo posted July 5, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

David Heisler’s former girlfriend and mother of his 6-year-old child, Kelley Marie Perry, 31, and McCard, 55, were arrested Thursday on charges including assault and kidnapping of Heisler. They are the last known people to see Heisler alive, according to the Santa Clara-Ivins Police Department.

During an investigation of David Heisler’s disappearance, McCard and Perry both allegedly admitted to their involvement in Heisler’s kidnapping, a Santa Clara-Ivins Police officer wrote in a sworn statement.

After assaulting him in his home, McCard and Perry told detectives, they forced David Heisler into his own car and took him against his will to a location near the Utah-Arizona border, according to the statement.

Santa Clara-Ivins Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Land Management and others have participated in the investigation along with the search effort ongoing by the Arizona agencies.

Child custody concerns

On June 13, the 5th District Court in Washington County during a bench trial ordered sole custody of David Heisler and Perry’s daughter to David Heisler. Court records show that a similar order had been issued in conjunction with paternity findings in 2014.

In the court’s trial minute orders, it states:

The Court finds that the Respondent (Perry) has shown substantial lapse of judgement in the past. … The Court finds that the Respondent attempts to plant ideas in to the child’s mind, which would harm the relationship between the child and petitioner (David Heisler).

The bench trial minutes reflect McCard took the witness stand during the trial.

Kenneth Heisler, David Heisler’s father, told St. George News that Perry represented herself during the trial as her attorney had previously withdrawn. She called McCard to testify on her behalf.

A photo of missing 30-year-old David Heisler and his 6-year-old daughter, photo date and location unspecified | Photo courtesy of David Heisler's Facebook page, St. George News
A photo of missing 30-year-old David Heisler and his 6-year-old daughter, photo date and location unspecified | Photo courtesy of David Heisler’s Facebook page, St. George News

He was the only witness that she had,” Kenneth Heisler said. “So, you know, he wasn’t much of a witness, he didn’t have anything really he could offer to help Kelley.”

Although Perry has denied to him and to the Heisler family’s investigator, Christian Warmsley, that McCard has lived with her or been her roommate, Kenneth Heisler said McCard was with Perry all the time.

“He’s always hanging out with Kelley,” Kenneth Heisler said of McCard.

The 5th District Court found David Heisler’s parents, with whom he lives, a major stabilizing factor in the matters it considered in making its custody rulings.

“The Court also finds that the closest bond is between the child and her Step-grandmother (Debbie Heisler),” the trial minutes state.

Perry was given supervised parenting time with her daughter as had been occurring prior to trial.

Since David Heisler’s kidnapping, Utah Court documents indicate that his parents, Kenneth and Debbie Heisler, filed for custody of their granddaughter on June 30.

This is a developing story. 

St. George News Editor-in-Chief Joyce Kuzmanic contributed to this report.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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

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24 Comments

  • ladybugavenger July 8, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    I think they are lying that they left him alive. But I’ll give the benefit of the doubt. They left him in the desert to die- it’s still murder. I would give the death penalty if I’m on the jury.

    • Accountable July 8, 2016 at 3:54 pm

      I believe you’re correct lady.

    • Bob July 8, 2016 at 5:34 pm

      yup, left out there with no water is murder. Evidence suggest they shot him tho.

    • RealMcCoy July 9, 2016 at 10:39 am

      Maybe they said “Well, he was still alive when we BURIED him out there, so ‘technically’ we didn’t lie, right?”
      Idiots like this tend to start with a big lie, then gradually change their story by bits and technicalities.
      “I had nothing to do with his disappearance”
      “Okay, maybe I was there…”
      “Okay maybe I saw something…”
      “Okay, maybe I helped- but only a little…”
      “Okay, maybe I helped beat him up…”
      “Okay, maybe I took him out into the desert…- but I didn’t kill him!”
      “Okay, maybe I’ll tell you where I left him. If he’s not there though, that’s not my fault. He might have just walked away”
      “Well, he was alive when I left him…”
      “Well, technically he was still alive when I left him… That means it’s not murder, right?”
      “Okay, maybe I buried him- but he was still breathing when I covered him up!”
      “First degree murder charges? How about if I just blame it all on my partner? Yeah- he killed him!!”

      They should treat this like an episode of 24.
      Just stick these two in a room with Jack Bauer for 10 minutes. He’s get a confession, a location of the body, and probably stop the next 3 terrorist bombings at the same time.
      Done.

      • ladybugavenger July 9, 2016 at 12:15 pm

        Nicely wrapped up.

      • .... July 9, 2016 at 3:58 pm

        Yeah right ! Blah blah blah blah TV this and TV that Blah blah blah

  • .... July 8, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    Skip the Jury ! just take’em out back and shoot’em

  • Bob July 8, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    not sure how long a person could survive out there

    • .... July 10, 2016 at 10:11 am

      Wow I’m absolutely amazed dumbob ! no Mormon conspiracy eh ? LOL !

  • SteveSGU July 8, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    If the criminal told authorities exactly where the victim was left (and with what supplies for survival), what was found at that exact location? Why are search & rescue crews flying over other areas in a grid pattern? Obviously, if the victim had been rescued, he would have headed straight home. That obviously didn’t happen.

    I hope they are pressing the criminals hard for truthful information.

  • ladybugavenger July 8, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    I’m not one to be for the death penalty but i don’t see a lot of executions done to people on death row so it’s a life sentence on death row with the possibility of execution.

    I don’t know what the daughter or the family would want to happen: but I’d go with what they want. Life in prison? or death penalty? Put me on that jury!

  • Common Sense July 9, 2016 at 6:51 am

    I don’t understand why the baby momma and her old man boyfriend would come by and assault and kidnap this guy. What is the motivation? The mom looks like a strung out junkie. I hope they find this guy alive.

    • Adam July 10, 2016 at 12:47 pm

      Before they were arrested the momma showed up at the home and said “where’s David? Oh, he’s missing? Guess I get custody of my daughter then.”

      So there’s the motive.

  • Denise July 9, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Special thanks for the authorities in this cause for quick and trained responses,Both states Utah and Arizona. Thanks for giving this cause your best. be safe and let’s get him home.

  • old school July 9, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Real McCoy you are a God! I second that and encourage EVERYONE to post a message to Kieffer Sutherland’s Facebook and request he come on down here and open a can of Whoop A– on the vermin infecting our community

    • .... July 10, 2016 at 10:08 am

      Lmao and your an idiot . !

      • RealMcCoy July 11, 2016 at 10:25 am

        LMAO @ ‘your’
        Still haven’t learned how ‘two’ spell?
        Skip the comments sections and just focus on finishing your GED online…

        • ladybugavenger July 12, 2016 at 8:39 am

          RealMcCoy don’t let what old school said get to your head. You’re not a God.

          • RealMcCoy July 12, 2016 at 12:32 pm

            Heeeeey…
            Why you gotta rain on my parade?
            Can’t you be an EOAK?
            😀

  • Lori July 9, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    Im still hoping that he’s gonna show up but dammit man doesn’t look good. Prayers to his daughter n family. He might still be there somewhere holding on

  • ladybugavenger July 10, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    There is another female arrested yesterday with the same charges. Kidnapping etc. Is this female involved in this disappearance?

    • ladybugavenger July 11, 2016 at 7:55 am

      She’s definitely involved in the kidnapping. After my sleuthing, I think she’s kellie’s mother

    • .... July 11, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      Ladybug. ..good question … I wonder where he is ?

  • Angela July 12, 2016 at 7:33 am

    If David was left out there in the desert alive dont you think they would have found him by now i seriously think they shot and buried him and they are lying about him being alive cause they dont want anyone to know they kilked him id what i think guilty is written all over kellies face i bet they kidnapped him cause kellie lost her daughter and going through her head was if i cant have her he cant have her either and thats when she got her boyfriend to help her they both deserve to rot in hell

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