Details of Disappearance Burdick worked part time as a clerk at The Barefoot Peddler Country Store, a convenience store owned by her cousin, on Florida Mountain in Florida, Massachusetts in 1982. The store was located on the corner of Route 2 and Central Shaft Road, just a few hundred yards from Burdick's family's residence. She had been working at the store for three years. Normally her best friend worked alongside her, but on the evening of her disappearance, April 17, 1982, Burdick was working alone.
Although the area was considered safe, Burdick's cousin was concerned about her working there alone at night. She was caring for a sick child and unable to actually stop by the store, at 8:00 p.m. she called to check on Burdick, who was scheduled to close up the store in an hour.
Burdick stated it had been a slow night with few customers coming in, perhaps due to the rainy weather. But during the conversation, at about 8:10, her cousin overheard the sound of a bell, indicating the store's front door had just been opened. Burdick told her cousin that a customer had arrived and she would have to hang up to attend to the person. She promised she'd call back once she closed the store for the night. She has never been heard from again.
At 8:30 p.m., Burdick's mother tried to call the store and got no answer, but she was unconcerned and assumed her daughter was serving a customer. Another customer entered the store at approximately 8:40 and noticed that it was abandoned and the door was open. He was familiar with Burdick's family and called them to tell them the store was unattended. Her family immediately called the police.
Burdick's open book and half-empty soda were still on the store's counter, but her jacket from McCann Vocational Technical High School and her purse were missing. $187 had been removed from the cash register, but additional cash was still available underneath the counter. Burdick would have been aware of the extra money, but an intruder would not have known about its placement.
Nothing in Burdick's life led authorities to believe she left of her own devices. Abduction was always assumed as the reason for her disappearance. One lead focused on an unidentified male who attempted to abduct a girl from the Williams College campus near Florida, Massachusetts that night Burdick disappeared. The man tried to force the intended victim into a vehicle at about 7:00 p.m. She managed to escape, but the attack took place approximately 40 minutes before Burdick was last seen. A sketch of the abduction suspect is posted with this case summary.
A police officer believed he spotted the alleged suspect's vehicle traveling towards Florida on Route 2 a short time after the Williams College incident. The vehicle matched the description of the vehicle driven by the suspect, but the car and driver could not be identified. The Barefoot Peddler was located on Route 2, placing the suspect near Burdick's location at the time. It has since closed.
In 1995, Burdick's father received an anonymous letter, postmarked Boston, from a man stating that his daughter had been abducted and murdered by a man in North Adams, Massachusetts. Authorities are familiar with the suspect named in the letter and pleaded for the letter's author to come forward with more information. North Adams is near Florida and it is believed that Burdick's case could have been connected to the mentioned suspect, who was interviewed extensively by police, but there is no evidence to support this theory. The writer remains unidentified and authorities do not know if the note was a hoax.
Burdick was a senior at McCann Vocational Technical High School in 1982, and was known as a studious, well-behaved young woman who took care of her chronically ill mother and volunteered with several charities that assisted people with disabilities. She planned to stay at home after graduation, help take care of her mother, and save up money so she could someday go to college. She didn't have a driver's license or a car, and she wasn't dating anyone at the time of her disappearance. Her case remains open and unsolved.
- Massachusetts State Police
- Berkshire Barracks
Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated May 5, 2021; picture added, details of disappearance updated.