Former Intelligence Specialist Weighs-in on Evansdale Abduction Case

By Jillian Petrus, Reporter

A poster with photos of Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10, and Elizabeth Collins, 8, who disappeared in Evansdale last Friday, adorn a utility pole across from the entrance to Meyers Lake in Evansdale, Iowa, Monday, July 16, 2012. Their bikes were found Friday afternoon near a bike trail at the edge of Meyers Lake in Evansdale. (AP Photo/Waterloo Courier, Brandon Pollock)

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By Liz Blood

PLATTEVILLE, Wisc. - Sabina Burton is a former intelligence specialist with an emphasis in forensic psychology and terrorism. She has worked with different federal authorities consulting on extreme cases including serial killings, sociopaths and abduction cases.

She has a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Ecology, University of California-Irvine with a focus on criminology, law, and society. She also has Master's Degrees in Sociology, Political Science, Economy, and Law, from Munich, Germany.

Burton is currently working as an Associate Professor for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and has been teaching for the past 14 years. She teaches criminal justice and forensic investigation students using her years of expertise in the criminal investigations field.

We asked Burton to weigh-in on the abduction case of two missing girls from Evansdale, 11-year-old Lyric Cook and 9-year-old Elizabeth Collins. The girls disappeared while out riding their bikes in Evansdale on July 13th. Tuesday marked four months since their disappearance. Investigators believe someone abducted the girls.

Burton is not directly involved with the Evansdale case, and has never been given specific details about the investigation. However, the professor says criminal profiling can breathe new life into a case starting to turn cold.

"They can give it a new spin," Burton explained. "So when everything is going dead, they may have some new insights."

Profilers are often called "mind hunters". Burton says that's because they focus on the mindset of extreme criminals. People who, she explains, typically do not use sound logic or logic a normal person might be able to understand.

Burton says profilers spend years reviewing old cases and building character profiles around serial killers, pedophiles and terrorists. She said it's common for profilers to be called in on abduction investigations once family members are cleared as suspects.


"We reserve profiling for cases where there is no clear connection between the victim and perpetrator," Burton says. "[Evansdale] is definitely a case that lends itself to profiling."

In the Evansdale case, Burton suspects the criminal is bold and organized taking more than one victim.

"They want to be successful. They are premeditated, planning it out very well. The likelihood we are dealing with an organized one, and not mentally ill person, is very high."

Burton says it is very possible the girls are still alive. And, that children actually have a better chance at survival then adults in cases of abduction.

"It's easier for kids to know their parents love them, they care for them, and are looking for them it gives them strength," she said. "There are documented cases of kids who went through, really hell, and they make it through and are able to cope and live normal lives again."
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