Mary Ellen O'Toole was a senior profiler for the FBI.
Dr. O'Toole has spent her career studying the criminal mind. One of the most senior profilers for the FBI until her retirement in 2009, Dr. O'Toole has helped capture, interview and understand some of the world's most infamous people, as well as investigate several infamous cases. Some of these criminals and cases are:
- Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana serial killers Derrick Todd Lee and Sean Vincent Gillis
- The Brian Douglas Wells collar bomb case
- Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber
- The Polly Klaas abduction case
- David Parker Ray, the Toy Box Killer
- The Red Lake massacre
- The case of the Monster of Florence
- The case of the Zodiac Killer
- The 2002 Olympic Games bombing in Salt Lake City, UT
- The 2001 mass murder in Florence, Montana
Dr. O’Toole also worked the Elizabeth Smart and Natalee Holloway disappearances, the Columbine shootings and many other high profile cases. Her law enforcement career spanned 32 years, beginning in the San Francisco’s District Attorney’s Office when she was a Criminal Investigator. Dr. O’Toole worked as an FBI agent for 28 years, spending more than half of her Bureau career in the organization’s prestigious Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU)—the very unit that is the focus of the hit crime series “Criminal Minds.”
During her time in the unit, Dr. O’Toole developed an expertise in Criminal Investigative Analysis (CIA) as well as offender behavior. She has provided assistance to law enforcement and prosecutors on a wide range of violent and criminal behavior including serial and single homicides, sexual assaults, kidnappings, product tampering, school shootings, arsons and bombings and extortions. Dr. O’Toole is also a trained FBI hostage negotiator and has a unique expertise in the areas of targeted school violence, workplace violence and threat assessment.
Dr. O’Toole is recognized as the FBI’s leading expert in the area of “psychopathy.” Her work in psychopathy has put her on the forefront of mental health and law enforcement efforts to apply the concepts of this personality disorder to both violent and white collar offenders and their behavior and crime scenes. She lectures internationally on the application of the theory of psychopathy to real life situations. She continues to lecture at the FBI Academy on psychopathy and interviewing. She has served as adjunct faculty to the FBI’s Prestigious Leadership Development Institute (LDI) at the FBI Academy and also frequently lectures at the Smithsonian Institution about everything from Sherlock Holmes to personal safety. She is a Fellow with the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.