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Analyst testifies on characteristics of Dawn Brossard’s murderer

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Janine Anderson
August 22, 2009
— The way Dawn Brossard’s body was disposed of, sunk deep below the surface of Geneva Lake, told a crime analyst much about her killer.

Mark Safarik, a former FBI crime analyst who now runs a private firm, testified Friday in the Walworth County trial of David Brossard.


The Burlington man is accused of killing his wife, Dawn Brossard, in 1997.


Putting Dawn Brossard’s body in the lake is an “attempt to misdirect the investigation from a missing person to a homicide investigation,” Safarik said.


Many killers leave the body where it is, he said. In this case, he said, Dawn Brossard’s body was moved. Taking the time to move and dispose of the body is risky, Safarik said.


Dawn Brossard was not just thrown into the lake, Safarik said. She was tied with chains and secured to cinder blocks and put into 117 feet of water. At that depth, the water temperature is about 46 degrees, which, Safarik said, kept her body from decomposing.


“Bodies, as they decompose, produce gases,” he said. “They will float a body. They’ll float a body even tied down with cinder blocks. If you’re deep and the water’s cold, you don’t produce that.”


Geneva Lake made a good hiding place, he said, though divers would discover the body years later in 2003.


“You’re passing up not only other bodies of water, but desolate areas, fields where you clearly could have put her,” he said. “The offender decided to take a risk in order to get her to an area where he perceived she would never be found, or she would decompose so much that she would not be identified.”


Safarik also said whoever did this had to be able to get the implements used to dispose of Dawn Brossard’s body.


“Whoever’s doing this, if it’s planned, then they’ve planned to have a boat, to have chains and bolts and to have the cinder block,” Safarik said.


“You have to have all those in place. If it’s not planned, then the fact that you can access those things, a boat, chains, bolts and cinder blocks, suggests that they’re readily available to you.”


Safarik was willing to give an impression of the qualities of the person who killed Dawn Brossard, but did not name any particular person—including David Brossard—as a suspect.


“It’s not appropriate for me to say who committed this crime,” he said.


Defense suggests alternative in death

ELKHORN


During an extensive cross-examination Friday, David Brossard’s defense attorney offered other possibilities to try to explain Dawn Brossard’s death.


Charles Blumenfield questioned Mark Safarik, a retired FBI crime analyst. Safarik was called by the state in the ongoing Walworth County first-degree intentional homicide trial of David Brossard, who is charged with killing his wife in 1997.


Dawn Brossard was known to have had affairs, and to drink heavily at bars in the area. In at least one instance, she is believed to have gone home with a man she had not met before. Blumenfield suggested there may have been many people that Dawn Brossard would have willingly gone with the Friday night that she left work.


“There are a million things that are possible,” Safarik said. “If you’re saying there’s a mystery X man out there, if you can tell me who that is, nothing was brought forward in the investigation. … There’s nothing in the investigation that supports that. If you want to introduce Mr. X, you can do it, but there’s nothing to support it.”


Blumenfield asked if it was to this mystery person’s benefit that he or she was able to remain unidentified this long, but Safarik disagreed.


“Here’s the problem,” Safarik said. “If someone is that anonymous, that nobody knows, not her family, not her coworkers, not her friends, not her husband, this guy doesn’t need to put her into a lake because nobody knows who he is.”


“Unless he wants to make sure that none of those trace elements we see on crime shows are left behind,” Blumenfield said.


—Janine Anderson


Editor’s note: The Kenosha News, Racine Journal-Times and Janesville Gazette are teaming up in a cooperative effort to cover the trial of David Brossard in Elkhorn. Each day, each newspaper will carry shared coverage of the trial, and information also will be available at the papers’ Web sites.

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