Carla Mae Burns
Carla, approximately 2016; Brian Burns
Date reported missing : 03/08/2016
Missing location (approx) :
Missing classification : Endangered Missing
Gender : Female
DOB : 03/25/1966 (55)
Age at the time of disappearance: 49 years old
Height / Weight : 5'4, 125 pounds
Distinguishing characteristics, birthmarks, tattoos
: Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes.
Information on the case from local sources, may or may not be correct : Carla was last seen in Harrisburg, Illinois at 3:30 p.m. on March 8, 2016. She has never been heard from again. Less than two weeks later, her estranged husband, Brian Burns, was charged with her murder. Investigators believe he shot her to death, burned her body and spread the ashes. A photo of Brian is posted with this case summary.
Carla was a nursing instructor at Southeastern Illinois College and lived in Marion, Illinois; Brian was a doctor and lived in Harrisburg. They married in 2009, but were in the process of a divorce when Carla disappeared.
Carla had filed for divorce in 2014, citing irreconcilable differences. She later filed multiple petitions for temporary relief and restraining orders, claiming Brian verbally abused her and he feared he would turn violent. She also stated he had taken $63,058, both of their life savings, from their joint bank accounts. Brian, in turn, accused Carla of "economic blackmail" and "verbal harassment" and claimed he'd stolen two handguns and various documents from him, including his passport.
In September 2016, he was additionally charged with solicitation, aggravated kidnapping and conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping after he allegedly offered to pay an undercover police officer $1,000 to kidnap Mike Henshaw, the prosecutor in his murder case. In 2018, he was convicted and sentenced to twenty years in prison for that crime.
Eight days after Carla went missing, Brian told police she had died in a "tragic accident" when she shot herself between the eyes with his 9 mm pistol, and that he burned her body and scattered the ashes on their property. He claimed he had not remembered her death until then, because of the emotional trauma. Brian maintained this story at his trial in December 2019. The prosecution argued Brian had planned Carla's death several days in advance. He was convicted of murder and concealment of a homicidal death in Carla's disappearance.
Carla left behind two sons who live in Texas; she planned on returning to live in Texas after finishing out the semester at Southeastern Illinois College. Her remains have never been located, but foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.
Other information and links : ncy
Saline County Coroner's Office
September 2021 updates and sources
A missing person is a person who has disappeared and whose status as alive or dead cannot be confirmed as their location and condition are not known. A person may go missing through a voluntary disappearance, or else due to an accident, crime, death in a location where they cannot be found (such as at sea), or many other reasons. In most parts of the world, a missing person will usually be found quickly. While criminal abductions are some of the most widely reported missing person cases, these account for only 2–5% of missing children in Europe.
By contrast, some missing person cases remain unresolved for many years. Laws related to these cases are often complex since, in many jurisdictions, relatives and third parties may not deal with a person's assets until their death is considered proven by law and a formal death certificate issued. The situation, uncertainties, and lack of closure or a funeral resulting when a person goes missing may be extremely painful with long-lasting effects on family and friends.
Several organizations seek to connect, share best practices, and disseminate information and imAge at the time of disappearance: s of missing children to improve the effectiveness of missing children investigations, including the International Commission on Missing Persons, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), as well as national organizations, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in the US, Missing People in the UK, Child Focus in Belgium, and The Smile of the Child in Greece.
The Southern Illinoisan
The Daily Register
October 12, 2004. May 14, 2020; Information on the case from local sources, may or may not be correct : updated.
Interactive Missing Person Search Map