Sarah Elizabeth Burton

Burton, circa 2018

  • Missing Since 07/17/2018
  • Missing From Joplin, Missouri
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 02/22/1990 (34)
  • Age 28 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'7, 160 - 170 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A purple and white blouse, blue jeans and black flats.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Brown hair, blue eyes. Burton's ears are pierced. She has a scar on her forehead.

Details of Disappearance

Burton was last seen in Joplin, Missouri on July 17, 2018. A friend dropped her off at a service alley near 10th and Rex, and they parted ways at a business on Range Line Road. Burton planned to walk home from there. She never arrived. The last sighting of her was later that same morning, at a residence in northwest Joplin. Her friend who dropped her off contacted Burton's parents a few days later because Burton had left her purse and one shoe in the friend's car, and her parents reported her missing on July 20.

She last saw her parents on July 8, nine days before her disappearance. Her father had helped her buy a car, and they put the tags on it that day. However, on July 11, she had wrecked the new car in Pittsburg, Kansas. Her parents think she may have been afraid to let them know about the accident and was avoiding them while she tried to figure out what to do.

Burton had been a good student and placed in a program for gifted students, and at Joplin High School she was a cheerleader, but after graduation she struggled with methamphetamine and served a term in prison on a drug charge. She tried to turn her life around after her release, but continued to struggle with drugs and had a troubled relationship with the father of her two young sons.

At the time of her disappearance, she was living with her parents and they were trying to get her into a long-term drug treatment program. She was free on bail on charges of drug possession, trafficking in stolen identities and stealing a motor vehicle. But she was making all her court appearances, and her attorney thought she might be able to get a suspended sentence. Her parents don't believe she would have run away because of her legal problems.

The circumstances of Burton's disappearance are unclear. Her son's father was incarcerated at the time of her disappearance and isn't a suspect. Her case remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • Joplin Police Department 417-623-3131

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated March 4, 2021; details of disappearance updated.