Body of missing Vashon woman found in Burton | Updated

The body of a missing Vashon woman was found Wednesday evening in Burton.

Searchers discovered the body of 20-year-old Samantha Burkart , who was reported missing on Saturday, May 4, near a trail on the Burton Peninsula, said Sgt. Cindi West, a spokeswoman for the King County Sheriff's Office.

West said foul play is not suspected in the incident, which many are calling an apparent suicide. West said an official cause of death will not be released until the King County Medical Examiner's Office completes a toxicology report. A representative of the office said on Friday that the toxicology report would likely be completed in eight to 10 weeks.

Burkart, a 2010 graduate of Vashon High School, was last seen at a home on Vashon on Thursday, May 2, West said. Family members reported her missing on Saturday, May 4, and on Wednesday, May 8, family discovered her car parked at Jensen Point, prompting a search and rescue operation.

About 15 searchers from Vashon's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) responded to search for the woman on Wednesday afternoon, as well as at least a dozen people from King County Search and Rescue, said Glenn Wallace, a spokesman for Search and Rescue who was on the scene Wednesday evening. Search and rescue dog teams were also deployed.

Burkart, the daughter of Timothy Burkart and Rosalie Bonelli, was born and raised on Vashon. On Friday her family released a statement saying Burkart loved to draw, had some of her work published in a teen magazine and had a good sense of humor.

"Alas, despite her many talents, she suffered from depression and low self-esteem that became more pronounced as she became older," the statement said. "The family hopes that Sam’s passing will encourage others who suffer from mental illness to seek early treatment. Finally, Sam loved Vashon Island and she died near the trails that she and her family would often walk when she was a child."

A memorial service for Samantha Burkart will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, May 18, at St. John Vianney Catholic Church.


We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Oct 19
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates