Mind Over Murder: Profiling

The murder of Vicki Soto shocked Nebraska.

Forty years old and 8 1/2 months pregnant, Ms. Soto’s case prompted a change in state law allowing a person to be prosecuted for a second homicide when the person kills a pregnant woman.  The investigation was also notable because of the role of the state’s only criminal profiler, Sgt. Gary Plank of the Nebraska State Patrol.

Detectives with the North Platte Police Department had identified a likely suspect.  Plank’s analysis helped searchers locate a key piece of evidence:  the victim’s amputated legs, hidden by her killer. Daniel Losinger pled guilty and was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison. Plank has since retired and now is a private consultant and teaches forensic investigation.

Newspaper articles published at the time layout how the fast moving investigation unfolded.

Pregnant North Platte woman brutally murdered (North Platte Telegraph 12/4/2001)
‘Strong suspect’ in custody; victims’ legs found (Associated Press 12/5/2001)
North Platte man arrested for woman’s Sunday murder/State Patrol profiler showed cops the way  (North Platte Telegraph 12/6/2001)
Neighbors say alleged murderer was friendly (North Platte Telegraph 12/6/2001)
North Platte group taking stand for fetal homicide law (Associated Press 12/7/2001)

In the documentary Mind Over Murder, profiler Gary Plank explains how behavioral analysis assisted the investigation.

Clip 1: While most cop shows and detective novels focus on creating a “profile” of the suspect, many investigations rely on a behavioral analysis of the crime scene.  Gary Plank explains the difference.


Clip 2: In the Vicki Soto homicide investigation some of the smallest details at the scene helped shape the behavioral analysis prepared by Gary Plank.



Clip 3: As more information came to light about Daniel Losinger, the man now in prison for killing Ms. Soto, it became clear that Gary Plank’s analysis of behavioral clues closely matched the killer’s personality.