242 days. That’s how long a Joplin family has been waiting and praying for answers.
Sarah Burton was last seen July 16, 2018 at a residence on the northwest side of town. February 22nd, her 29th birthday, came and went, and there’s still no sign of Sarah.
The wind on this cool, March day outside the Burton home is brisk. It’s a sense of urgency that matches the quest to find their daughter Sarah.
“This has torn our family up, we are not the same. I just want somebody to please, please, I’m begging you to come forward and help this famiy,” says Stephanie Burton, Sarah’s mother.
Heather Allen, a close family friend says, “Sarah had never not answered me when I had messaged her. Never, not one time.”
Stephanie continues, “She said, ‘Mom, I’m going out for a couple hours. I love you.’ I said, ‘I love you, too. I’ll see you in a few hours.’ Never did I expect not to see her again.”
It’s been 8 months since she was last seen at a residence in the northwest part of Joplin, and her family and friends are fearing the worst.
When asked if they’d heard the rumors about what happened to Sarah, her parents and her close family friend shuttered.
Heather agress, “Oh, God. Too much.”
Sarah’s Mother, says “I mean, it’s been everyday. The last one: she was tortured. I mean, I know there’s somebody out there. I just know.”
But Sarah’s father, Ron Burton, is holding on to hope. He says, “I hold on to that hope that she is still alive and time will tell, something will happen, and then we’ll see her again.”
Captain Trevor Duncan of Joplin Police Department says, “It’s still an active case. We’re still following up on leads. There was a new lead on Friday. There was a new lead on Monday of this week.”
Ron is hopeful, saying, “This particular angle that the police are working right now, I hope it give us an answer.”
Captain Duncan assures the Burton family ad the community, “Our detectives are in contact with the family every week, just updating them on any develops that they can, letting them know what’s going on, seeing what information they may have.”
When asked if she still thought Sarah was alive, her mother replied with a sad response. “I don’t,” she says. “She would never do this to her family. We were too close. She would not have done this. We’ve never been this length of time apart. She would not do that,” says Stephanie.
“This case is pressing to (JPD). We want to get answers. We want to get resolution, not only for the family, but for Sarah, and for everybody in the community, just to know exactly what happened and why and really get to the bottom of it,” says Catain Duncan.
Even if Sarah did just simply want to disappear, it’s an outcome her dad is willing to accept.
Ron says, “I’ll try to understand if this is the decision she’s made, I’ll try to live with it. We’d just like to know that she’s okay.”
Allen says, “Sarah I love you, and I miss you and you are the most incredible person that I’ve ever met.”
Sarah’s mother says, “I pray all the time for you Sarah. I even ask God to bring you back to me. I know that’s selfish on my part but I just want you to come home.”
Her 29th birthday came and went on February 22nd. It was a sad day, but also a day the family tried to still make peace with. They held a small family gathering with a meal made by Sarah’s sister.
“Sarah’s sister really came through on that day, and made it not so difficult,” Ron says.
The family says Sarah may have had a past and may have been battling some depression, but when she went missing, all of that was turning around.
Heather says, “She’s not one to just run off with just anyone. She wouldn’t do that.”
Those that love her will continue pressing forward until they get closure.
“I never stop. I won’t stop,” says Stephanie.
“No, we won’t,” says Heather.
Sarah Burton is described at 5’7″, about 170 pounds, with light brown hair and blue eyes.
If you have any information or think you have seen her, call the Joplin Police Department at 417-623-3131.