Missouri woman vanished after car wreck. 10 months and 60 tips later, FBI sets reward

Ten months. That’s how long Sarah Burton’s family has gone without answers.

Now, the FBI is hoping a reward can finally give the family closure.

The 29-year-old mother of two was last seen on July 16, 2018, near 10th Street and Rex avenue in Joplin, Missouri, a FBI release stated. According to a report by the Joplin Globe, Burton wrecked her car on July 11, leading her mother to believe Burton may have been “afraid to let (her parents) know about the accident.”

Captain Trevor Duncan of the Joplin Police Department said he’d received more than 60 leads on the case, according to KOAM news.

“On one hand we’ve got a lot of people coming forward and bringing information,” he said. “On the other hand, we know there’s always those people out there that know something and they know it’s vital but for whatever reason they don’t bring it forward.”

According to the Joplin Globe, Burton struggled with drug addiction and spent time in prison in 2010.

In April of this year, it seemed there might have been a break in the case. The Newton County Sheriff’s Department says it carried out a search warrant on a home outside of Joplin, where Fourstates Homepage said a “possible lead” was found, though authorities wouldn’t elaborate.

The investigation lasted a week and “included the FBI and Missouri State Highway Patrol diving teams,” according to KZRG. Evidence was sent to the FBI for testing.

“The investigation turned into an investigation into the disappearance of Sarah Burton,” Captain Duncan said, according to KZRG.

On Wednesday, ten months after Burton’s disappearance, the FBI announced it was offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for her disappearance.

Larry Swineheart, head of criminal investigations at the Joplin Police Department, said he hopes the reward will turn up leads, according to the Joplin Globe.

“I don’t have any hard evidence, but I think there are people who know,” he said.

Captain Duncan said that he believed the family had realistic expectations for the outcome of the case, KOAM reported.

“...Not only due to the amount of time that’s passed, but the information that is out there, the information that we do have, the developments in the last couple of days, I know the family is obviously very upset, but they are very realistic about the possible outcome,” he said.

Individuals with information pertaining to the disappearance of Sarah Burton should contact the Joplin Police Department at 417-623-3131 ext. 440.

Dawson covers goings-on across the central region, from breaking to bizarre. She is an MSt candidate at the University of Cambridge and lives in Kansas City.