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The Unsolved Disappearance of Susan Anne Swedell

The Disappearance of Susan Anne Swedell
Susan “Sue” Anne

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Swedell was aged 19 when she vanished without a trace from Lake Elmo, Minnesota in 1988. Susan had graduated high school and expended a semester away at college before deciding she wasn’t ready to leave her family. She came back home and started working at Kmart in Oak Park Heights, Minnesota.

On January 19th, 1988 Susan’s sister called the store at about 4 pm inquiring what Susan’s plans were that evening because the climate was near blizzard conditions. Susan notified her sister she intended to come straight home and watch movies and eat popcorn with her sister and her mum to prevent the weather outside. Susan’s mum later called the store again to advise her daughter to be sure to take main, busy roads to get home in case something occurred and she slid off the road so it would be easier for her to get support. Susan’s manager noted it was unusual that Susan changed out of her red pantsuit and into a mini skirt before leaving the store, deeming the freezing temperatures outside.

Susan Car

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On her way home Susan’s car overheated so she pulled into a gas station, just about a mile from the apartment she shared with her mum and sister. The helper at the gas station notified LE that Susan had asked if it was ok to park her car there. The attendant informed her it would be ok as long as she parked it at the edge of the parking lot so it wouldn’t be in the way of snowplows. After Susan stationed her car, the attendant said she started talking with a man who was at the gas pumps. The man was characterized as well built with shoulder-length brown hair, wearing a leather jacket. Susan got into this man’s car and was never glimpsed again.

When Susan didn’t come back home her mum called the ce asking about any accidents in the region due to the weather. A regional patrolman went searching and found Susan’s car parked at the gas station.

When police examined her car, they discovered her driver’s license inside and found that the petcock on the radiator had been loosened and there was no water inside which clarifies why the car overheated. Police conclude the car was intentionally tampered with and that someone may have followed her, waiting for the car to break down.

Oddly, a few days later, Susan’s sister came back home to the apartment and discovered the red pantsuit she had been wearing before she changed at work folded under the bed. She also discovered dishes in the sink and could breathe fresh cigarette smoke. Nonetheless, there was no other clue about Susan. (I can’t find anything that says if Susan herself was or was not a smoker). This led LE to think she had left of her own accord, nonetheless, foul play is suspected in her case.

Loved ones notified police that Susan had been receiving phone calls at work from a man named “Dale”, though no one had greeted him or knew anything about him.

In 2006 her family had a glimmer of hope when it was discovered that there was activity on Susan’s social security number, nonetheless, it was found out someone stole Susan’s identity.

Susan was active in the Christ Lutheran Church and had second employment outside of her Kmart position at the time of her disappearance.


Some Questions

Is it probable she did leave of her own accord? I don’t know anything about the Christ Lutheran Church and I don’t want to infer anything, but is it also probable she was glimpsing someone (Dale) and wouldn’t want her family and church members to know?

Who loosened the radiator thing?

According to Susan’s mum, it wasn’t extraordinary for Susan to alter clothes more than once a day, but it was unique for her to change into something that did not weather appropriate. Did Susan have a date? If she had a date, why would she say her family she was coming home rather than telling them she wouldn’t be there?

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