The Profiling Project vs. Homicide Victim Seth Rich: Criminal Profiling BS

I don’t know who murdered Seth Rich, and neither does “The Profiling Project”.


There is probably no other subject in criminal justice/criminal investigation that is plagued by so much bullshido as what is commonly called “Criminal Profiling”. You’ve probably seen the series, Criminal Minds or the movie Silence of the Lambs I’ll be generous to this investigative tool by saying that it can provide investigative leads in a small number of homicides that an investigator would find useful. However your average criminal investigator would much prefer a partial fingerprint, or some DNA, or something, anything less abstract. There are a whole bunch of people out there doing criminal profiling, and often rather badly. My article below concerns one such group called the Profiling Project that was created to investigate the murder of Seth Rich.

If you want to see a much better effort carried out by volunteers read Citizen Sleuths about the DB Cooper case. I’m not going to talk about the general problems with “criminal profiling” but if you are interested please read Malcom Gladwell’s critique on the subject which mentions a British Home Office study of profiling in England from the 1990s which found that in only 5 of 184 crimes in which profiling was used, did it lead to the arrest of a suspect. (That’s 2.7%!) Now onward to the Profiling Project.

Conspiracy theorist media outlets like InfoWars have been furiously pushing the idea that Seth Rich was assassinated for leaking DNC documents

The Profiling Project Does a Disservice to Seth Rich’s Family

I don’t know who murdered Seth Rich, and neither does the Profiling Project. They’re a group of current and former George Washington University students who just published a report claiming “Seth’s death was more likely committed by a hired killer or serial murderer”.

Seth was an employee of the Democratic National Committee. He was shot to death early one morning on July 10, 2016 at the 2100 block of Flagler Place in North West Washington D.C. After he died, he was rumored to have leaked DNC emails to Wikileaks. No reliable evidence was ever produced to support the resulting conspiracy theories, but it did have the effect of politicizing his death.

The Profiling Project’s report can be found here. It is an overtly simplistic, redundant, poorly edited report that would be rejected by any competent police department. (1) It attempts to profile Seth Rich and provide a Victimology section without admittedly having conducted “direct interviews with family and friends to the victim” They instead based their knowledge of him almost totally on his online presence. I suppose I should thank them for not disturbing his family, but they have inadequate information in their report with which to justify conclusions such as Seth “appears to have few close friends” and “he did seem to be a heavy drinker”.

The profile has multiple references to media accounts of this homicide but the authors admittedly had no access to police crime scene photography, the autopsy report, or any of the police reports describing the crime scene. (2) All they have is MPD Public Incident Report that says “the decedent was lying in the Southwest corner of the intersection of W. St. and Flagler PL. NW. The decedent was conscious and breathing with apparent gunshot wound(s) to the back.” Unfortunately the Profiling Project did not attach a copy of this report to their lengthy report, but they also quote it as saying the weapon involved was a “handgun”.

Then the Profiling Project’s report states on page 10: “It has been reported (cite) that no bullet casings were found.” The writer of this section of the report did not include the citation for their source of this important piece of evidence and their editor, presuming someone edited this document, didn’t catch that they had not included this citation. (The source might be from Fox 5 DC) The Project’s report then states “The crime scene was very organized to the point of being sanitized.” As if a city intersection could be “sanitized”.

I still don’t know whether the police recovered a casing at the scene, but assume that Rich’s parents were correct, and accurately quoted, that a casing or casings were not recovered.. The police may have simply not found the casing that was fired, especially because this was an outdoor crime scene. Handgun casings are small, and round, and often roll around. Similarly had a revolver been used, it would have not left casings on the ground. The Project also discusses the possibility that a revolver was used but believes that this is unlikely because in a previous study revolvers were used in only 12% of D.C. crimes, (See Appendix C of the report) It is unclear from the text of the Project report, how Vincent Di Maio obtained this information for his 1999 book on gunshot wounds. The report’s assumption that the killer picked up their casing(s) is presently unproven, but the profile accepts it as fact and piles some more assumptions on top of it.

The Profiling Project then goes on to state: “The crime scene was very organized to the point of being sanitized. This would indicate careful planning on the part of the offender, control of the entry to, and exit from, the crime scene as well as in-depth understanding of law-enforcement investigative processes.” Once again the Project leaps to conclusions that are unsupported by the evidence. They have very little information about the condition of the victim’s body but they reach other conclusions such as “Offender did not display excessive emotion at the crime scene, did not appear to act from hate, anger, fear, gain, jealousy or revenge, all motivations for murder.”

The report selectively decides which media accounts to believe. For example Fox 5 DC reports that at the time of Seth’s death there were armed robberies occurring in this neighborhood and half a block away there was a robbery “hot spot” next to a construction site. The Project doesn’t like the robbery theory, because there are media reports that Seth’s valuables were not taken. However is quite plausible that Seth kept his possessions because he resisted a robbery and was then shot as a result. Fox news claims that Seth’s mother told them that her son fought with his assailant(s) Now it’s unknown who told her this or whether there were defensive wounds on Seth’s body, but for the Project to simply say that there was no reports of defensive wounds and therefore little or no direct contact between Seth and his killers, is ignoring the mother’s claim that her son fought with his assailant(s) and therefore is cherry picking the Fox news reporting that they otherwise rely upon.

The Project’s report is loaded with unsupported and unwarranted assumptions. For example they take Seth’s dad’s assertion that Seth would have not “go outside the system” and leak DNC materials to mean that he would not have resisted an armed robber. I do not believe one can reliably repurpose this statement to draw a conclusion concerning how a person would react when faced with a robbery. There are repeated mentions in the Project’s report of whether a “toxin was introduced into Seth”. There is no indication why the Project decided this was a relevant and realistic concern for its report, even though it tends to dismiss such a conclusion. A professional killer appears to be being ruled out because Seth was found alive and was not killed immediately by the attack. (He died at the hospital)

I’m still trying to figure out why the writers of this report even brought up the possibility that Seth Rich was killed by a serial murderer (they don’t even allege who the other victims of this killer or killers were). (3) If one is not a member of a vulnerable population, such as being a male or female sex worker, runaway, hitchhiker, or some group routinely involved with organized crime, including street gangs, one’s chances of being victimized by a serial murderer are quite low.

There is at least one inadvertently omitted section in the Victimology Conclusion on page 13 that might explain their reasoning, but I think the Project may be arguing that Seth’s murder required criminal sophistication, it was not a robbery, therefore whoever had killed him, had killed prior to this incident. This assumes a number of reliably established facts that don’t exist in this report. It is more likely the offender or offenders escaped because they were likely no witnesses to this crime at 4:19 am in the morning. (Or alternatively no witnesses who wanted to come forward).

The report is probably correct in concluding that very few white males become murder victims and then the subject of cold case investigations in Washington D.C. each year.. If Fox hadn’t reported several robberies occurring shortly before this homicide as occurring within a block of the murder (and they even interviewed a Howard student who had been robbed) this information would be more likely to support the Project’s theories but facts as they say are stubborn things.

The reader should be aware that this effort was financed by GOP Lobbyist Jack Burkman. Since the Profiling Project’s report has been featured on the Drudge Report and Newsweek, and The Daily Mail it may unfortunately become the basis for the public’s “knowledge” of this crime. This would be a shame. This is a poorly done report that is defective on its face.

UPDATE ON 7/21/2017

Since this article was initially published, the author has located the Profiling Project’s “final” initial report.  While this 83 page version adds the rest of an important missing paragraph on page 13, its reasoning is quite flawed.

“In support of our assertion that the offender has killed before, and is, by the FBI definition, a serial killer, Adams & Pizarro (2014) note that multiple homicide offenders refine their criminal abilities through experience. That Offender left a sanitized crime scene is indicative of experience. The crime scene also appears to be void of emotion or attempt to hide the crime, further supporting the experienced killer premise, as multiple homicide offenders have ‘a greater ability to kill multiple victims without thought or care for the consequences.’ (Wright, Pratt, & Delisi, 2008).”

In my original 1,300 word critique of the PP’s initial report, I explained why I thought it was a mistake to described the crime scene as sanitized.  This was a deduction based on an absence of shell casings that could not be supported by what is publicly known about this case. The comments about the crime scene being “void of emotion” is contradicted by the assertion by Seth Rich’s parents that Seth’s watch band was torn, and that he had bruises on his hands and face. The term “void of emotion” in my opinion is psycho-babble. Finally the PP draws a conclusion that the offender or offenders did not try to hide the crime (i.e. move Seth’s body) and this shows that they did not have “thought or care for the consequences”.

It is much more likely that the offender, or offenders, having shot Seth Rich on a Washington street, did not feel they had the time to drag or move his body, if this thought even crossed their minds. Once again, the MPD has a gunshot locator, and assuming the offenders knew of this very public device, there would have been a strong incentive for them to leave the murder scene immediately before the police arrived, or before they were observed by a witness.

Otherwise  the vast majority of the expanded report is made up of a 37 page appendix featuring the criminal records of three individuals who were arrested for robbery in Washington D.C. after Seth’s murder.  The report however does not adequately explain why they devote so much space to Appendix E, when on page 35, they do not describe these three individuals as having anything to do with Seth’s death.  Please also look closely at page 35 to read about the three individuals who are the subject of Appendix E. To see my full analysis  the rest of the “final” initial report please read posts 132 and 133 here.


(1) I’m borrowing from comments made by my friend Chuck Hardin.

(2) The preferred FBI term for “profiling” is Criminal Investigative Analysis. “The effectiveness of criminal investigative analysis is limited by the accuracy, completeness, and quality of material received from the submitting agency” . . . “A thorough written and pictorial description of the crime scene through 8 inch by 10 inch color photographs and a crime scene synopsis is essential for an optimum criminal investigative analysis. . . “The autopsy report should include (if possible) toxicology and serology results, autopsy photographs, photographs of the cleansed wounds, estimated time of death, type of weapon, and suspected sequence of attack.” John Douglas ,Ann Burgess, Allen Burgess, and Robert Ressler, Crime Classification Manual: A Standard System for Investigating and Classifying Violent Crimes (Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, 1992), pp. 310-311.

(3) The report uses the following definition of a serial murder. “The unlawful killing of two or more victims by the same offender(s) in separate events.” Normally when claiming a serial murder is responsible for a particular murder, it is expected that an investigator will specify what homicides they also believe were committed by the same offender or offenders. This is not done in this report.

For a bullet point breakdown and further discussion, visit our Forums (Click Here)

Sam Browning
Samuel P. Browning is a Connecticut Attorney. He has an M.S. in Forensic Science from the University of New Haven
The Art of Fighting BS Podcast on Spotify

The Art of Fighting BS Podcast on iTunes

The Art of Fighting BS Podcast on Google Play

The Art of Fighting BS Podcast on Stitcher

Latest articles

Related articles


  1. Yeah, Profiling Project’s speculations are incredibly stupid. I note that the article launches forth with DNC/Democrat/MSM talking points, like concern for family feelings & deploring “politicization.” 1) Family feelings are not grounds for obstructing justice or stopping investigations of a murder or a national issue like leaks in an election. 2) Politicization is baloney. You can’t politicize what is already political. SEth Rich was very political, a DNC staffer, murdered at the time of DNC Leaks during an election. It is a national interest which demands no-hold-barred thorough investigation. The family (perhaps due to Democrat & Bauman manipulation) are actually impeding the public investigation. The DC Democrat stonewall is incredible. Congress should investigate & hold hearings.

  2. Yeah, Profiling Project’s speculations are incredibly stupid. I note that the article launches forth with DNC/Democrat/MSM talking points, like concern for family feelings & deploring “politicization.” 1) Family feelings are not grounds for obstructing justice or stopping investigations of a murder or a national issue like leaks in an election. 2) Politicization is baloney. You can’t politicize what is already political. SEth Rich was very political, a DNC staffer, murdered at the time of DNC Leaks during an election. It is a national interest which demands no-hold-barred thorough investigation. The family (perhaps due to Democrat & Bauman manipulation) are actually impeding the public investigation. The DC Democrat stonewall is incredible. Congress should investigate & hold hearings.

  3. 1) The Profiling Project (PP) a NGO insists the MDC police have given up on the investigation or are “obstructing” it. Based on quotations from news articles that can be found on page 4 of the accompanying thread, the MDC doesn’t want to work with the PP because they have concluded the PP are a bunch of conspiracy theorists. That’s not obstruction of justice because the MDC does not have the obligation to cooperate with the PP. Similarly Rich’s family is not obliged to cooperate with PP. With such non-cooperation PP doesn’t really know what the MDC is doing. It’s apparently driving the PP up the wall.

    2) I said this case has been politicized because there was never any reliable evidence that Seth had anything to do with the leaking of DNC emails. His misfortune was to be murdered within several months of when this security breech happened. At this point various members of the right decided to make this connection without the reliable evidence because it fit their agenda. It was something that could be blamed on Hillary which is a rehash of the old Clinton Chronicle allegations.

    3) Public Investigation? The MDC is holding certain information back which is typical for murder investigations because they want to insure any informants have genuine information. For example lets suppose a jailhouse informant tells the MDC his cellmate told him he killed Seth. But the informant gets the handgun caliber wrong because this information was not made public so the police do not pursue someone who was innocent of this particular crime. There is a good reason not to release information about this case publically.

    If you think the MDC is incompetent perhaps you can suggest that this case be referred to the FBI for investigation.

  4. Abraham Lincthunk is an asshole, who represents the very reason why this arcticle was written in the first place. “You can’t politicise what already political” what kind of fucked up circular logic is that. All those concerns who wrote about are not real things just partisan BS. GFY Abraham

  5. To make CharmDate new brides more conscious of that you truly are, write a brief self-description text. This will make your companion better. They will either have a standing that reveals their love for animals or they will certainly publish photos with pet dogs, cats, bunnies, hedgehog, or any various other family pets they may have. Ultimately, if there are no public indicators of pet love on the profile of a particular CharmDate user, asking directly if they such as pets can likewise be an excellent ice breaker! In truth, using CamShare to reveal their animals and also see the buddies of other participants is an additional means to connect in a positive spirit and also have a fun time commemorating the existence of animals as well as the happiness of being blessed with their company! Although girls must be celebrated everyday, having an unique date to reveal themselves as well as get extra assistance and excellent therapy is favorable and also encouraging! Does March 8th serve to gift ladies, praise their elegance and take them out for supper or is the objective of this date much deeper? Since 2006, Animal fans around the globe celebrate National Pet Day on April 11. Pet dog proprietors utilize this vacation to commemorate the delight of having family pet companions yet its objective is additionally to bring awareness to numerous dogs and also felines that get in shelters annually.

    Some of the pet dogs as well as cats that get in shelters all over the world are strays, while others are deserted by their owners or are taken in legal action. Often, they even obtain the family pets of their pals to take them on walks and get seen or come close to by many ladies who would love to pet their pets or ask concerns about them. In some cases, pets can even assist partners settle concerns by being a subject they can speak about in all times or by snuggling with both of them. Afterward, they can speak to the picked females and discover out which one is their perfect suit. Consumers can also speak via e-mail. If the firm will certainly not [url=]charmingdate review[/url] work with it, it will definitely shed many clients. That is why you will conveniently browse it, also if you are not so tech-savvy. Members can benefit from enjoyable sticker labels, presents, blossoms, and also a variety of attributes that can make the celebration even better. Considering that CharmDate mostly connects Western males with ladies from Russia as well as Ukraine, it is understandable that ladies from these nations will need much more support than common thinking about the at risk time they are undergoing.

    It is thought that originally a team of ladies in Russia started a strike in 1917; they demanded bread, tranquility, as well as the right to vote. March 8th was the day of the strike. Note that you can not transform your name, date of birth, house country, as well as international partnership status. Show your name, email, gender, and date of birth. Just how much does Beauty Day Cost? March 8th is a date marked under high value on the international schedule of holidays! These extra questions on CharmDate are of terrific value because these help the algorithm to locate the excellent match based on your tastes. As an example, if a male is speaking to a lady on a dating platform for the first time on March 8th, he has a terrific subject to begin a conversation with. It has actually been running because 1998 as well as has established itself as a trusted platform for finding romantic suits. After filling up in the details above, click the discover me matches icon to complete the enrollment process. The only info that can be altered is information that was submitted after registration.

    The enrollment on Charmdate understand rather quick. It’s rapid and also efficient to send out and receive mail from participants. CharmDate embraces many various other fraud defense actions to make sure that their women are real, such as binding terms on girls’ conducts, a strict verification procedure before female accounts are published on the website, close tracking of female profiles, normal surveillance of document between participants and also regular phone meetings with ladies directly. Browse hundreds of high-grade accounts as well as photos to discover your suitable soul friend. You can choose to overlook the membership fee however that will refute you accessibility to private images and immediate consumer support. Share your pictures as well as video clips with others to prove the reality of your words. It is possible to affix files (images, pictures, video clips). CharmDate is recommending its customers to be gentlemen on this date; to make ladies feel unique at all possible. On some occasions, your credit card may be decreased for repayment due to several possible factors: Void CCV – the CCV number is the last three numbers published on the trademark strip on the back of the cardIncorrect expiration date.Card is overdrawn.There may be an abroad or Internet block on the card – contact your providing financial institution for additional information.Single transaction limitation has been exceeded If you wish to use one more credit rating card, please call us.

  6. Advanced Search: This search option permits you to filter matches based mostly on a spread of criteria, including bodily appearance, way of life, and pursuits. Only Gold and Platinum members have the choice to send audio and video messages. A superb site that fits all the necessities above doesn’t assure safety from a gold digger. The dating site presents two different membership options; a free primary membership and a premium membership. Need to know extra about Latin women dating and in regards to the courting etiquette in South American nations? For example, two ladies that don’t know each other will normally always greet each other with a kiss on every cheek. Ladies who use worldwide relationship websites, in turn, want to casually date a overseas man and most of them don’t plan marriage upfront. You should also plan to meet up regularly. LatamDate: one other nice place where you may meet and date sizzling Cali girls on-line. Still, you need to point out some effort to impress, as not each lady will probably be thrilled with the place the place you’re from. Make an effort along with his associates and family. She is a woman who determined to search for a companion overseas because she desires to be pleased with a person she’s going to love and who will love her, and because she is ready to make some efforts to seek out her excellent match.

    Latin mail order brides have only one aim – discover a decent, suitable, and honest man with serious intentions. When meeting new members for our Company Relationship and Skilled Dating service we ask that singles make sure that they too have the qualities that they want to see in a life associate. Be taught to dance effectively, as these girls will make you dance, so it’s the very best time to impress them. How to date and impress Cali Colombia women? Present that you’re romantic and ready to impress your lady together with your manners and courtship. Basically, having an account on a dating platform routinely turns a lady right into a mail order bride! Always pay the payments as you’re expected to do so, a minimum of during the primary interval of relationship. The primary is “vert,” which means green, and the second is “mont,” which suggests mountain. Concluding your first profitable 12 months as head of division in the company you joined 20 years ago. So I used to be the youngest and the smallest child at school for years and years. If you want to search out girls in Cali, this site can help you with that.

    Here, you won’t have issues approaching ladies, and you can even find your ideally suited match with looking tools. Most women who use these websites are looking for a husband, they are prepared for one thing more severe than just courting, and so they don’t have any problems with moving to your nation. To change into a mail order bride, a lady from Latin nation has to enroll on a web-based relationship company webpage, fill out the profile, and start looking for worthy partners. We’re followers of international courting and our main purpose is to help individuals discover first rate Latin dating platforms. Then again, [url=][/url] it might probably provide help to set up a real-life date with a woman of your selection! Interacting and speaking by means of online tools is different compared to actual-life communication. On-line communication with Latin girls – what to do and what to avoid? Therefore, one should adapt his fashion of communication and consider a couple of things whereas chatting with a Latin mail order spouse.

    Both dating and mail bride websites provide kind of related communication instruments and companies, so the principle distinction is the women’s intentions, not the performance of the sites. What makes them much more interesting is the fact that they don’t seem to be afraid or ashamed of displaying their beauty and sexuality. You should appraise their magnificence and sexuality. Thus, if you’re searching for a critical relationship and wish to find a spouse from South America, you want mail-order bride platforms. Most of the time, it’s a lack of first rate men within the close by space or a desire of a bride to find a more reputable, successful, and caring man. Indeed, there are just a few hundreds of thousands of lovely and charming girls who need to create families with American men, and they determined to choose on-line relationship to search out these guys. Cali on-line dating is particularly great. For instance, you can go to common malls and cafes, and being a foreigner will play a key function in attracting Cali Colombian women. Lovely woman who join with, or sport when comes to being relationship. It has all the things you may have if you wish to have an incredible time online with a Slavic girl.

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here