272: Mark Safarik – Family Annihilation, Mass Murders

Retired agent Mark Safarik served in the FBI for 23 years.

In this episode, Mark Safarik reviews a fascinating family annihilation case that he conducted a behavioral analysis for during the investigation and provided expert testimony during the subsequent trial.

It is a unique case because it features behavioral attributes, staging, depersonalization, undoing, and proprietary interest, that are often seen individually but rarely in combination. The subject, Vincent Brothers, murdered his wife, their three young children, and his mother-in-law.

His law enforcement career spans over 31 years, 12 of those as a senior member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) where he established himself as an internationally recognized expert in the analysis and interpretation of violent criminal behavior.

Special Agent (Retired)

Mark Safarik

4/1984 – 4/2007







“When you see the murder of very young children, you wonder why. Because clearly a six-week-old infant and a two-year-old cannot be witnesses.”—Retired Agent and FBI Profiler Mark Safarik

Mark worked has worked as a patrol beat cop to a detective working homicides. He began his FBI career working violent crimes in the Denver Division on the Wind River Indian Reservation out of the Riverton RA. He transferred to the New York Division, where he worked undercover assignments and was a behavioral profiling coordinator. He then transferred to the Sacramento Division, Stockton RA, where he worked violent crimes and established the behavioral profiling coordinator position before promoting to the Behavioral Analysis Unit at the FBI Academy at Quantico where he remained until retirement.

He has conducted internationally renowned research on the sexual assault and homicide of elder females. He is a member of the highly respected Vidocq Society.

He is well-published in international journals, including the Journal of Forensic Sciences, International Journal of Homicide Studies, and the Journal of Interpersonal Violence. He has authored numerous book chapters on homicide, including in the newest text on sexual homicide, the Routledge International Handbook of Sexual Homicide Studies.

His new book, Spree Killers: Practical Classifications for Law Enforcement and Criminology, has been hailed as the definitive textbook on this type of multicide.

He has appeared on Dateline, Court TV, Forensic Files, New Detectives, A&E, Oxygen, Discovery ID, and many news networks to discuss his cases. His television series, Killer Instinct, premiered in 2011. He was a longtime consultant for the popular television series CSI: Las Vegas, Bones, and The Blacklist. He has two seasons of Cold Case Homicide television shows in both Sweden and Denmark.

During a typical family annihilation scenario, all members of a family are killed in a murder-suicide.

Family Annihilation

The following are links to articles and videos about family annihilation, familicide, and the investigation of Vincent Brothers, who murdered his wife, their three young children, and his mother-in-law:

AP Online – 9/28/2007: Ex-Vice Principal Sentenced to Death

Bakersfield.com – 9/30/2007: 15 to 20 years on death row

KGET,com Bakersfield – 6/14/2022: Vincent Brothers, notorious Bakersfield ex-vice principal who massacred family, featured in Oxygen show

Killer Instinct with Mark Safarik (VIDEO) – S01E10 ~ Driven To Kill: Vincent Brothers

Fox News – 10/6/2022: NYC mom accused of drowning 3 kids at Coney Island beach indicted for murder

Crime scene photo. The contents of the purse dumped out on the floor to show a burglary had occurred is an example of staging.
Crime scene photo. The missing knife from the kitchen was most likely used as a secondary weapon in the family annihilation case.
Crime scene photo. The way the flat screen TV was carefully positioned facing downward is an example of priorietary behavior.








Listen to more FBI Retired Case File Review case reviews with former FBI profilers here.

Listen to Mark’s previous appearance on FBI Retired Case File Review:

Episode 204: Mark Safarik – Spree Killers, Behavioral Analysis

Mark Safarik’s Serial Killer TV and Movie Recommendations

Wire in the blood – 6 seasons – My favorite of them all – great profiler

The Fall with Gillian Anderson

Wallender both the original in Swedish with English subtitles and the more recent one in English with Kenneth Branagh.




Bordertown (three seasons) – Finland – excellent

River (one season)

The Bridge

True Detective Season 1 – One US show that is excellent with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. McConaughey’s character uses profiling skills and is excellent. There are three seasons, but only the first season is top-notch, the other two not so much.

Read Mark’s thoughts about the serial killer thriller starring Angelina Jolie in my Review of Taking Lives (2004).

Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 300 episodes available on all popular podcast apps and YouTube.


  1. Linda MullenApril 26, 2023

    Excellent story teller!

    1. Jerri WilliamsApril 28, 2023

      Thanks for listening!

  2. ColeenOctober 21, 2022

    I’m from Bakersfield and this was unforgettable! the investigation was incredible!

  3. LauraOctober 21, 2022

    Great episode! All I’ve listened to are good. Will definitely go back and listen to the one where Safarik was on previously. Something with “Manhunter” never set well with me and now I know why! Will be looking at recommendations from both!

  4. Jocelyn BroughtonOctober 20, 2022

    Loved this interview! What a great story teller. Fascinating work.
    Thanks Jerri and Mark



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