Six months after the remains of Dorothy Heard were discovered in a Grant County field, how and where she died still could not be determined.
Heard was reported missing from her Noblesville home in June 2011, and her remains were found in February near the Mississinewa Battlefield in Grant County.
Through DNA evidence, the Grant County coroner’s office determined the remains discovered were those of Heard.
“We could not determine a cause of death,” said Stephen Dorsey, Grant County coroner. “We ruled the cause of death is undetermined and the manner of death unknown.”
Wednesday, Dorsey said it was determined the remains had been left in Grant County during the summer of 2011.
He said the place of death also could not be determined.
Lt. Bruce Barnes, the Noblesville public information officer, said Heard’s death is still under investigation.
“We’re waiting on results from the state police lab,” he said. “We were waiting on the report from the coroner and state police lab before any decision is made.”
Barnes said once all the information is gathered, the case will be presented to the Hamilton County prosecutor’s office to determine if any charges will be filed.
“The investigation is still wide open,” he said.
Barnes said Heard’s nephew, Donald L. Burns, is still considered a person of interest in the case.
Burns, 47, obtained that status after officials say Heard left a note on the date of her disappearance, saying she and Burns were visiting family gravesites in Wabash.
According to Noblesville police, he then used the woman’s credit card June 13 to make a $378 purchase at the Marion Walmart. A short time later, another charge was attempted at the same location for approximately $700, which was declined, according to police. He also pawned a ring belonging to Heard in Marion, according to police.
Burns is currently incarcerated with the Indiana Department of Correction on a 1999 conviction in Tipton County for child molesting. His parole was revoked in December in Madison County after he entered a plea of guilty to an unrelated felony charge of resisting law enforcement.
Burns’ earliest release date from the Indiana Department of Correction is now April 2014.
Heard was reported missing June 13, 2011, one day after her granddaughter was abducted near her Tipton home.
The granddaughter later escaped. She was found unharmed in Westfield.