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Kathy Miller? ...I haven't heard that name in a long time.
Burnett to Struthers

Sam Burnett is a serial killer and abductor who appears in the Season Eleven episode of Criminal Minds, "Target Rich".

Background[]

Very little is known about Burnett's past, other than he was born on June 13, 1987 and became a student at New York University as a Communications major. In 2006, he abducted and killed another student, Kathy Miller. Sometime before or after that, he dropped out of the university, and after killing Miller, he began traveling to the East Coast, killing two college students in the following nine years. In 2015, Burnett settled in Virginia and got a job as a shuttle driver catering to students attending Judy Temple College who were coming out of parties drunk.

Target Rich[]

In 2015, Burnett attempted to abduct a college student named Bahni Desai, but another man got to her instead. Afterward, the BAU is called in to investigate Desai's disappearance, and eventually find a security video of Burnett following her. After seeing a press conference, Burnett turns himself in and confesses that he is the man in the video. Rossi leads Burnett to the interrogation room and JJ joins in. Burnett asks JJ if the necklace she is wearing holds her birthstone, and she replies that it is her son's birthstone. Burnett tells them about the man who took Desai, but JJ asks him why he stepped back into the doorway as the video showed (which led the BAU to suspect him in the first place). He tells them about a GPS in his cab then asks for a lawyer. Rossi and JJ believe him and they let him go.

Later, Burnett meets with Joy Struthers in an alleyway and begins talking, unaware that she is using her phone to record the whole conversation. She questions Burnett about Desai, but when he tells her about her abductor, Burnett shoves Struthers to the wall. When she panics, Burnett claims that he is showing her what the man did to Desai. When Struthers mentions Kathy Miller, Burnett says that he hasn't heard the name in a long time. Suddenly, the BAU show up, having track the both of them down, and arrest him. After Desai is rescued and Tom Larson is arrested, Burnett is approached in the interrogation room by JJ and Rossi. He says that he has nothing to say to them until his lawyer comes, adding that Struthers' recording is inadmissible as evidence. Rossi tells Burnett that Struthers is his daughter and that the recording allows the authorities to execute a search warrant at his residence, which turns up a number of items, including Kathy Miller's necklace. When Burnett tries to make a deal, JJ shoots him down.

Modus Operandi[]

Very little details about Burnett's crimes were disclosed. What is known is that he targeted female college students who were in their freshman and sophomore years, somehow abducted them, and then killed them through unspecified means. JJ noticed that Burnett had a thing for necklaces, implying that he would keep them as his trophies.

Profile[]

No official profile of Burnett was made by the BAU, although Rossi briefly described Kathy Miller's abductor as being organized and having a secondary location where he could take her.

Real-Life Comparison[]

Burnett is similar to Ted Bundy - Both were serial killers and abductors who were in college when they started killing, targeted female college students (though Bundy killed others too), both had a victim named Kathy, were active for several years and in several states, were initially able to persuade investigators they were innocent (police initially refused to investigate Bundy despite several people reporting him, while Burnett was interrogated and released), evidence was found in their properties (Bundy's car and Burnett's house, respectively), and they attacked the daughter of a law enforcement agent (Bundy killed a police chief's daughter, while Burnett tried to kill an FBI agent's daughter). Their names also somewhat mirror each other.

Known Victims[]

The dates denote when the victims disappeared

  • October 4, 2006, New York City, New York: Kathy Miller (also stole her necklace)
  • May 23, 2010, Syracuse, New York: Bailey Halbert (presumably)[1]
  • Unspecified dates and locations from 2006 to 2015:
    • Grace Denniglen (presumably)
    • Allison Corismen (presumably)
  • 2015, Alexandria, Virginia:

Notes[]

  • Burnett is similar to Allen Archer ("Hero Worship") - Both are offenders who came onto the BAU's radar as they investigated unrelated crimes in their area and were initially viewed as Good Samaritans, but later came under suspicion and were convicted of their crimes.

Appearances[]

References[]

  1. Considering Burnett was connected to two other murders with barely any specific details given, it is unknown if Halbert was one of his victims. The same applies for the other two victims.
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