Bartow County

FBI, GBI join search for missing Cartersville mom

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. — The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the FBI have joined the search for a Cartersville mother who has been missing for nearly three weeks.

Heather McDonald, 27, vanished on the morning of Sept. 18.

Her SUV was found outside a Bartow County motel in the parking lot along Highway 411.

There has been no trace of McDonald and her family is desperate for answers.

Investigators swarmed the Courtesy Inn in Bartow County Wednesday afternoon.

Police told Channel 2 Action News they surrounded the motel following a tip that a man, possibly connected to the missing mother's disappearance was spotted there.

Investigators spoke with several people at the motel, but did not arrest any suspects.

“Every day we don't find her it's getting worse," her mother, Lisa Chatman, told Channel 2’s Tom Regan.

Chatman said she is torn apart over the disappearance of her daughter.

McDonald stayed with a friend in Ackworth the night before her disappearance.


When police found her SUV, the door was open, with the key on the ground nearby. Her phone and ID were also gone.

“I just feel like somebody has her. I honestly think someone has her. Her phone would not be off for this long,” Chatman told Regan. “She wouldn't leave babies.”

Her family has organized searches, and passed out countless fliers to raise awareness of McDonald's strange disappearance.

“I don't know where to look anymore. We just keep looking and no leads or nothing," sister Madison Chatman said. “I just want my sister home.”

Heather's husband, Stefan, told Regan he's doing everything he can to comfort and encourage their daughters when he's not searching for her, or at work. He also tries to stay busy around the house.

“'Stuff like that just helps me keep my mind off it. So I try to stay busy and it helps,” Stefan McDonald told Regan.

“We will keeping hunting and we will find her. I don't care how long, 'cause that's my baby," Lisa Chatman said.

A $4,000 reward is now being offered for information that leads to the missing mother.

Investigators are working to track down all her cellphone communications before and after she vanished.