Another twist in the case of missing Bartow woman

Heather McDonald (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

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Heather McDonald (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

An apparent person of interest in the disappearance of a 27-year-old Cartersville woman is in custody on another charge, an official with the U.S. Marshals Service said Wednesday.

The agency arrested Richard Dale Harden in Carroll County on Oct. 7 on a warrant for sex-offender registry violation, spokesman Jim Joyner said. Marshals shot Harden in the arrest process, and he was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital for treatment. Harden eventually was turned over to Cartersville police, and he is in the Bartow County jail.

The marshals agency had information that Harden was a person of interest in the disappearance of Heather McDonald, Joyner said, but the agency is not part of the missing person investigation.

McDonald, a mother of three, was last seen in the area of U.S. 411 and I-75 on Sept. 18, officials said. A tip led the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to believe McDonald was last seen in the Courtesy Inn parking lot, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. Her red Jeep Wrangler was found there with the doors wide open, her keys on the ground and her ID and cellphone missing.

The FBI has offered a $20,000 reward for information “leading to the recovery” of McDonald.

Harden was convicted in Bartow County in 1988 of enticing a child for indecent purposes, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections website. He was released from Johnson State Prison in 2010.

Cartersville police could not be reached for comment.