Suspected Utah rapist tied to Wyoming killing

Jan 31, 2020, 9:14 AM
suspected rapist...
69-year-old Mark Douglas Burns. (PHOTO: Courtesy of the Davis County Sheriff's Office)
(PHOTO: Courtesy of the Davis County Sheriff's Office)

OGDEN, Utah — Police are connecting a cold case murder in Wyoming to a suspected serial rapist from Ogden.

69-year-old Mark Douglas Burns, formerly known as “John Doe,” worked as a long-haul truck driver.

In 2003, officials decided to file criminal charges against his DNA.

Identifying John Doe

Utah authorities say they first identified Burns because of a breakthrough from the Wyoming State Crime Lab.

Their investigators were able to link the same person to assaults in Clearfield in 1994, 1995, 2000 and 2001; Rock Springs, Wyoming, in 1991; Riverdale in 1992; Ogden in 1993; Laramie, Wyoming, in 1996; and Layton in 1997.

Ogden Police Captain Timothy Scott was working for Clearfield Police at the time of the attacks, but never got his man. He says the assaults haunted him for decades because he felt police were so close.

“This file has been within an arm’s reach of me in every office I’ve moved to, which has been dozens of offices,” Scott said.

According to charging documents in Utah, Burns was convicted of rape in North Carolina in 1974. As a result, he served a “lengthy prison sentence.”

Once the information came in from Wyoming, prosecutors amended the charges to include his name. Those charges include eight counts of aggravated sexual assault, six counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of aggravated burglary and one count of aggravated robbery. Those are all first-degree felonies.

Cracking a cold case

Now, the roles have reversed. The Evanston Police Department and Uinta County (Wyoming) Attorney’s Office have received information from Utah authorities that they say could connect Burns to a 2001 cold case murder.

A statement from Evanston Police indicates someone decided to kill 28-year-old Sue Ellen Higgins in her home.

While the Evanston Police Department investigated this case thoroughly, the lack of evidence prohibited resolution and the case became an inactive cold case.

According to Evanston Police, Utah authorities contacted them about the case roughly a month ago. They say the suspected rapist has “provided material information about this cold case during multiple interviews with Utah authorities and Evanston detectives.”

Today’s Top Stories


Anderson was arrested the morning of Sept. 24, 2022, by West Valley Police on felony child sexual a...
Waverly Golden

First grade teacher in Magna arrested on felony child sexual abuse charges

Elk Run Elementary first grade teacher Dale Anderson was arrested this morning on felony child sexual abuse charges.
2 days ago
The Nephi City Police said in a Facebook post that a man was luring children to his vehicle yesterd...
Waverly Golden

Be on lookout for suspicious vehicle in Nephi

The Nephi City Police said in a Facebook post that a man was luring children to his vehicle yesterday afternoon.
2 days ago
Curt Gresseth

Former U.S. Attorney for Utah talks about what FBI can take off your cellphone

A legal expert joined Dave and Dujanovic to discuss how the FBI can obtain evidence of a crime from a cellphone.
3 days ago
cameras daybell...
Simone Seikaly

Judge grants “no cameras/photos in courtroom” request by Daybell lawyers

In the order prohibiting cameras, Judge Boyce agreed that the case had received significant and worldwide media attention.
3 days ago
(Getty Images)...
Mark Jones

Vernal student detained by police after allegedly bringing gun to school

A student in Vernal is in custody after police say he allegedly brought a weapon to Vernal Middle School on Thursday. Police say the suspect had a plan and a target.
4 days ago
centerville arson fire...
Curt Gresseth

What’s behind random acts of violence in Utah?

What's behind a recent spate of random violence in Uta?. A sleeping couple at home in West Valley City is stabbed by an intruder. A stranger enters a home with three elderly people in Centerville and burns it down. Greg Skordas, KSL legal analyst breaks down what he thinks is motivating young people to commit random acts of violence.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Suspected Utah rapist tied to Wyoming killing