Nephew charged with Heard’s murder



Murder charges have been filed in the two-year-old case of Noblesville resident Dorothy Heard’s death.

On Oct. 15, the Grant County prosecutor charged Heard’s nephew, Donald Burns, with felony murder, forgery, theft and receiving stolen property.

Heard went missing on June 13, 2011. A tip led Noblesville Police investigators to a rural area north of Marion on Feb. 9, 2012, where human remains were found, but conditions were such that no immediate identification was possible. Confirmed identification of the remains found near Mississinewa Reservoir was made using DNA. An autopsy determined Heard died sometime during the summer of 2011, when she was initially reported missing.

At that time, NPD Lt. Bruce Barnes said Burns was a person of interest. Burns, an Elwood resident, was caught on surveillance video footage using Heard’s credit card to purchase hundreds of dollars in jewelry at a Wal-Mart store in Marion, just hours after she was last seen by other family members. Barnes said Burns also tried to pawn Heard’s wedding ring at EZ Pawn in Marion the same day. On Jan. 17, 2012, Burns was charged with two counts of forgery and two counts of theft for the alleged actions on June 13, 2011.



“She would not have given him the ring and credit card willingly,” Lou Ann Sylvester, Heard’s daughter, told Current in Noblesville in a previous interview. “I would like to know how he got them.”

Barnes said officers wanted to ask Burns questions about Heard’s disappearance after his initial arrest, but were unable to because he refused to cooperate with the investigation. At that time, Barnes said police believed Burns might have been one of the last people to have seen Heard alive.


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