Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Disappearance of Susan Walsh

The disappearance of Susan Walsh in 1996 has all the hallmarks of a complex mystery story.  There are so many different possible scenarios and so many potential suspects, that the case stalled after a couple of years, with every possible avenue of investigation, explored.  Susan Walsh vanished after walking to a public telephone, very close to her home.

    Susan Walsh grew up in New Jersey and fell into a problem that blights the lives of many young people; drugs.  But after a spell in rehab, she married and had a child, but the marriage fell failed.  She lived in the same home as her estranged husband.  Susan got a job as a stripper, working in clubs in New Jersey & New York, gaining good income.  But it seemed that she slipped back into using drugs, and her agent, who booked her dancing stints was suspected of being a drug pusher.  When Susan wished to call her agent, her husband insisted she used the nearby telephone.  Susan did branch out into journalism, writing and researching articles for the Village Voice magazine.  These included potential suspects for her disappearance;  strippers in clubs owned by Russians, and a vampire cult that was having blood stolen from hospitals.  She also helped research a book about the dancing and stripping game in that corner of the USA.  She was also one of the storytellers featured in the book.

    One friend commented that she had long lived life at full speed and she was facing total burnout, and hoped that if she did go on her own volition, it was to reorganise her life.  But she vanished after going to the telephone.  She left her keys, credit cards, clothes, and most importantly, her child.  Many leads were fully investigated and all cleared.  The case went cold.  Ten years later, a new detective chief reopened the case and made it a priority.  But, the former husband declined to help the new investigation and indeed, had a lawyer tell the Police not to bother him.  The new chief obviously made headway, as he said he did not have enough evidence to make an arrest, so he had somebody in mind.

    So what are the possibilities?  The ex-husband?  Why did he involve a lawyer?  To me, that is strange.  He was not arrested or accused of anything, but it could have been that he wanted it left.  The Agent who was an alleged pusher?  Or could it have been an obsessive punter whom had watched her dance.  What about her journalistic investigations?  Russians were people you did not get involved with and would kill without a second thought.  The Vampire cult she investigated?  Did her articles cut off their supply of blood from hopitals?  What about any men friends she had?  Many potential suspects but were any involved in her disappearance?  As for a snatch on the street, this was a very busy road so there would have been plenty of witnesses, and there were stores on the opposite side of the road.  A mystery that would have intrigued Holmes or Columbo.