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Missing in America

Person of Interest Named in Disappearance of Missing Georgia Mother Heather McDonald

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A person of interest had been named in connection with the disappearance of Georgia mother Heather McDonald, who vanished more than six weeks ago.

Richard Harden, 57, was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshal's service on October 7 on an outstanding warrant for a sex offender registry violation.

The Marshals told NBC affiliate 11Alive Wednesday that during the course of their investigation, they were notified that Harden is a person of interest in Heather's September disappearance.

The Cartersville Police Department, which is leading the investigation into Heather’s disappearance, would not confirm that Harden was being held in connection with the case.

Harden was reportedly on a list of people Heather’s husband, Stefan, thought police should talk to regarding the case, according to 11Alive.

The family has reportedly know Harden for several years.

"He was a friend of Heather's mother Lisa, went to church with them in 2011," Stefan told the station. But he added that he did not believe Harden had anything to do with Heather's disappearance.

"That's hard for me to believe he would do something," Stefan told 11Alive. "No, I don't know - it's just not him that I would know, that's not the person I knew."

Related: Weeks Pass with No Answers Since Disappearance of Young Mother Heather McDonald

Heather, 27, was last heard from on the night of September 18. She had spent the prior few days with a friend who lived one town over from her family's home in Cartersville, Georgia. The following day, a police officer discovered her rented red Jeep Wrangler in the parking lot of the Courtesy Inn off US-411 near White, Georgia. The Jeep was unlocked, and Heather’s belongings were inside. Police notified Heather's husband Stefan, who then reported her missing. The couple has been together for more than ten years and has three young daughters.

"We just want her home safely," Stefan told Dateline earlier this week. "Someone out there knows something. Whatever happened, someone knows."

Several different organizations, including the FBI, are assisting in the case. Earlier this week, the FBI doubled their reward to $20,000 for information leading to Heather and/or the conviction of anyone responsible in her disappearance. There is also a $4,000 reward being offered by Heather's family for her safe return.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Cartersville Police Department at (770) 607-6227.