Local News

Lee County Woman Unlikely To Be Found Alive, Profiler Says

Posted January 26, 2006
Updated December 31, 2006

— A criminal profiler who has helped with high-profile investigations says he does not believe a Lee County woman who went missing more than three weeks ago will be found alive.

"She was dead within hours after being missing," said Dr. Maurice Godwin, a criminal profiler who has examined cases, such as the disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba; missing child Jessica Lunsford, who was found buried near her home in Florida; and the slayings of confessed BTK killer Dennis Rader.

Godwin, at the request of Michelle Bullard's family, has made a map of where he thinks the 23-year-old's body could be -- a 25-square-mile area in Cumberland County, just outside an area where crews searched as recently this week.

Bullard, authorities say, was kidnapped on Jan. 2 while visiting friends. They say a masked gunman entered the home where Bullard was staying, robbed them, and took Bullard at gunpoint.

Godwin has based his map on two factors about the Cumberland County area: Bullard's wallet, which was found last Friday on Bogie Island Road, and the family of David Wilson, who committed suicide at about the same time and place Bullard disappeared. Wilson's family lives near where the wallet surfaced.

Investigators continue to call both coincidences, but Godwin says the information still helps him.

"To me, that is good enough to map those locations to try to help law enforcement and the family to refocus their investigation," he said.

Detectives say they are usually cautious about tips, such as Godwin's, but say they know some do point in the right direction.

"We do check them out," said Cumberland County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debbie Tanna. "We take everything seriously until it's proven that their idea is not justified."

Investigators say they do want to search the area on Godwin's map, which derived from his research and a geographical profiling program, called Predator.

The program, Godwin says, works off a mathematical algorithm that takes the crime location and creates a spatial representation of the lowest and highest probability where a body or evidence related to the crime is likely to be found.

The three-week investigation into Bullard's disappearance has spanned across three counties -- Lee, Harnett and Cumberland -- and has captured the national spotlight, with a profile of the case airing on CNN.

Bullard is 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighs about 125 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes.

A $10,000 reward is being offered to anyone who has information leading to her recovery.

Anyone with information that may help solve the case is urged to contact the Lee County Sheriff's Office at (919) 775-5531, Cumberland County Sheriff's Office at (910) 323-1500, or their local law enforcement agency.

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