In 1998, 19-year-old college student, Suzanne Lyall, boarded a bus from her job at the mall to go back to her campus dorm room. She was seen getting off the bus around 9:45 at night, but was likely abducted somewhere between her bus stop and her dorm. Many theories and suspects have emerged over the years but her location still remains a mystery to this day.
An open letter from Suzanne’s father to her abductor
To the person who took Suzanne,
I often wonder whether March 2 means anything to you. Do you remember the 19-year old young woman that you took from us? Do you still have her with you? It has been nearly a year since she vanished, but she is just as loved and dearly missed. Do you know the person you took?
Suzy is our third child and was born on April 6, 1978. I had the great privilege of witnessing her birth, an event that was one of the most memorable of my life. Her older brother and sister became very attached to her and during her younger years were almost a second set of parents. She is a very creative person and is inspired to write poetry that seems to flow in from outside of herself. She is a shy but a friendly person whose warm smile and an easy manner can cut through others sadness and put those around her at ease. Her sense of fairness and loyalty to her friends are well appreciated by those who know her well. You took away a wonderful person. Someone who probably would have stood up for you if things weren’t fair. Did no one do nice things for you?
I have found some comfort in picturing you not as a mean ugly bad person, but someone’s child…. someone deserving and needing love and acceptance who possibly misunderstood Suzy’s friendship as a romantic interest. If love wasn’t shared in your family, I’m sorry. Every person is entitled to the love and caring that family and friends provide.
If you still have Suzy, I wish for something good to happen to you, a success that makes you feel satisfied and positive about yourself. Hopefully then you will treat her well. I hope you have peaceful moments when you can walk in the woods or through the fields, content, not miserable and vindictive.
I have a hard time getting through anniversary dates. Still not knowing where Suzy is, I continue to talk to her and ask for answers about her from my dreams. Birthdays, holidays, semesters breaks, but especially now. Where are you Suzy? What next? I pray for Suzy and for my ability to let go of anger toward you. If only I could talk to you.
I’m not sure what I would say, although after so much time, surprisingly, I don’t hate you. I know nothing about you. I wonder if you were ever like Suzy. Did you love homemade chocolate chip cookies? Did you go to RUSH concerts? Did you play jokes on April Fools day? Did you spend time on the computer, oblivious to anything else going on around you? Suzy is more than a girl on a poster. Her mom and dad, Steve and Sandy miss her daily. She has dreams, and hopes and potential.
I still have positive dreams. For my own survival, I have had to let go of anger or I would be consumed by it. But the questions persist. I pray that God will smile down on us all this year and bring us some peace. All I’m asking for is your response; a call to allow me and all the people whose lives Suzy touched to find peace and a sense of calm that disappeared on that night in March. The peace that can’t return until the questions surrounding Suzy’s disappearance are answered. You have held the answers for so long. You also hold the pain. Please talk to me.
Ballston Spa, New York
Letter and more about Suzanne found here.