INDEPTH: DAR HEATHERINGTON
CBC News Online | June 29, 2004
Lethbridge, Alta., city councillor Dar Heatherington made national headlines
in 2003 after she claimed she was abducted and sexually assaulted during a
business meeting in Montana. Police in Montana and Alberta said Heatherington
made up the story and told them she had, in fact, run off to Las Vegas with a
Here is how the story unfolded:
June 29, 2004: Dar Heatherington is found guilty of public mischief.
She was charged following a Lethbridge police investigation into allegations
she was being stalked. The conviction means the Lethbridge alderwoman will
have to resign. She is to be sentenced Sept. 10.
STORY: Alberta alderwoman guilty of public mischief
Jan. 26, 2004: Lawyers for Dar Heatherington ask for a two-day
adjournment on a charge of public mischief. Heatherington had claimed that she
was being stalked while in Lethbridge, Alta., claims police contend were
STORY: Lethbridge councillor public mischief trial postponed
Sept. 8, 2003: Heatherington pleads not guilty to mischief charges.
STORY: Heatherington pleads not guilty to mischief
June 16, 2003: Heatherington holds a news conference in which she
claims she was drugged in Great Falls, Mont., taken to Las Vegas and sexually
assaulted several times. She says police in Montana tricked her into going
back to Great Falls, and a 2½-hour interrogation by police there led her to
say that she had made up her story and had had an affair in Las Vegas.
STORY: Heatherington speaks out on disappearance
June 10, 2003: Lethbridge police charge Heatherington with mischief,
following an eight-month investigation into claims she was being stalked,
claims police contend were false.
STORY: Lethbridge alderwoman faces new charges
May 20, 2003: Heatherington pleads not guilty to a charge of lying to
police in a deal with the Great Falls, Mont., county attorney. The deal
requires Heatherington to pay $100 US in court costs and to seek counselling.
Cascade County attorney Brant Light says Heatherington changed her story,
first saying she had been abducted, then saying she had travelled to Las Vegas
with an Alberta man she met in Great Falls.
STORY: Heatherington gets deal from U.S. prosecutor
May 14, 2003: Heatherington's lawyer asks for the case to be delayed a
week. The county attorney in Great Falls, Mont., offers Heatherington a deal
that would allow her to plead not guilty.
STORY: Montana police offer Heatherington deal
May 9, 2003: The deputy mayor of Lethbridge, Tom Wickersham, says he's
getting calls from citizens who want Heatherington to resign.
STORY: Heatherington faces pressure to resign
May 8, 2003: The county attorney in Great Falls releases information
about Heatherington's statements to the police. Lethbridge police Sgt. Jamie
Fisher says, "Great Falls police are confident that her information is
Heatherington's husband, David, speaks to reporters in support of Dar.
"She suffered from an untoward event while in Great Falls," he says.
STORY: Heatherington's husband stands by her
May 7, 2003: David Heatherington charters a plane to Las Vegas to pick
up his wife. Las Vegas police say Heatherington said she might have been
sexually assaulted and she was too tired to speak to them, but she wanted to
The Heatheringtons fly to Great Falls, where they are taken to police
headquarters. Police interview Dar Heatherington for four hours and later
charge her with making a false statement.
STORY: Heatherington leaves Las Vegas
May 6, 2003 - 10:39 p.m.: Heatherington is found, distraught and
shaken, in the valet area of the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Las
Vegas. She tells police she was abducted from Great Falls and possibly drugged
and sexually assaulted. Police take her to the hospital. She refuses to be
examined by a male doctor, but later allows a female to do the examination.
STORY: Heatherington found in Las Vegas
May 6, 2003: Police use a helicopter to search along the Missouri River
in Great Falls, Mont., where Heatherington is believed to have gone cycling.
Police in Great Falls say Heatherington has a history with the Lethbridge
police. "They are aware of this individual," says police Lieut. Ron
Steffans, adding that police are focusing on whether Heatherington had an
accident or deliberately disappeared.
STORY: Heatherington known to Lethbridge police
May 5, 2003: Police in Great Falls, Mont., retrace Heatherington's
steps, and find her keys and purse outside her rental car, but no blood or
other obvious signs of a struggle.
STORY: Lethbridge shocked as alderman vanishes
May 3, 2003: The day Heatherington disappeared.
Heatherington's husband reports her missing that night.
- 9 a.m.: Heatherington phones her husband in Lethbridge, telling him she
will not be back for their daughter's piano recital that night because of
meetings with officials in Great Falls.
- 10 a.m.: Heatherington phones Great Falls councillor and cancels her
- 10 a.m. - noon: Heatherington shops in Great Falls and buys a bicycle
for $10 at a pawn shop, telling the shopkeeper she wants to ride along the
- About 2 p.m.: Heatherington's rental car is found in a downtown parking