1. Keeping Children and Adults Safe
    Click Here for more information!
    Dismiss Notice
  2. What do you do if you have a loved one missing?
    In this section, you will find tips on what to do and not do.
    Easily find organizations that you can contact for help.
    Click here for more information
    Dismiss Notice
  3. “We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”
    Our mission: Working together to help locate the missing, name the unidentified
    and discuss true crime cases within an intellectual, safe and respectful Internet community.
    *~*~*~*Don't forget, we are on Facebook! www.facebook.com/CrimeWatchersNet*~*~*~*~*
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Welcome to Crimewatchers.net! We are happy to have you with us.
Please let any staff member know if you need assistance. We're here to help! (If you aren't a member, please join us today. We'd love to meet you!)
Dismiss Notice
Crimewatchers.net opened on April 26, 2015 with the purpose of making a difference in getting the word out for the missing, unidentified, and justice for victims. Let us know if you have a case you'd like us to feature here, on Twitter &/or Facebook. Contact email: CrimewatchersCW@gmail.com

MN SUSAN SWEDELL: Missing from Lake Elmo, MN - 19 January 1988 - Age 19

Discussion in 'Missing 1980 to 1989' started by Akoya, Apr 9, 2018.

  1. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member


    The sisters were close, supporting each other after their parents divorced when they were 6 and 3, she said.

    “‘She’ll just come back home,’ that’s what we were told,” Christine Swedell said. “‘She’ll just come back home.’ Well, she hasn’t. It’s not her character. She’s extremely sentimental. Anytime she thought of us, she was always in tears. She was always happy when we were together. It doesn’t equate.”

    In May 1989, investigators asked for Susan Swedell’s dental records after the BCA sent out a teletype regarding an unidentified body; the results were negative.

    Investigators received three tips in 1990: Susan Swedell was allegedly spotted at the Waterworks Bar in Centerville, at a Burger King in Northeast Minneapolis and at a Hardee’s in Ashland, Tenn.

    “Three tips. That’s it,” Ellickson said.

    White Bear Lake search for vulnerable adult canceled, after man is found safe
    Authorities detected activity on Swedell’s Social Security number in 2006, but it turned out to be a case of identity theft. Ellickson flew to interview a woman in Del Rio, Calif., who used Swedell’s Social Security number to try to get into the military, he said.

    “She found (Susan’s) name on the Internet and found a picture and thought that it was what she looked like when she was younger,” he said. “She had no connection with Susan. She just used Google to try to find someone she could use.”

    Earlier this year, Washington County investigators took to the BCA the red pants that Swedell was wearing before she disappeared, to have them tested. Although the pants had been washed several times and Christine Swedell had worn them in the years since her sister’s disappearance, authorities wanted to make sure they checked that box, Ellickson said.

    In 2002, Detective Sgt. Jesse Kurtz arranged for the Swedells to have their blood drawn at Regions Hospital in St. Paul. Then they drove to the BCA headquarters in St. Paul and submitted their DNA samples — the first “Missing Person Relative” samples in state history.

    “It’s been 30 years, but I still think about this case all the time,” said Kurtz, who is retired and lives in Florida. “I hope for closure — for her family and for her. Imagine what they must be going through after all these years. Every holiday. Every birthday.”

    Kurtz said he thinks the case could be solved — if enough attention is paid to it.

    “Someone knows something,” he said. “Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead. I really believe that. We solve murders that happened 30 years ago because somebody has information that they didn’t want to divulge at the time, but now the person is gone, or the remorse has kicked in, or they have things that they really want to tell us, but they’re waiting for us to knock on their door.”

    Kara Thannert
    Podcaster Kara Thannert began researching the Swedell case in July. The first three episodes of her “Still Missing” podcast, which is devoted to Swedell, were released on Nov. 26; subsequent episodes are being released every other Tuesday.

    The podcast has received about 2,000 downloads/streams per episode. In addition, it’s been listed three times in the Top 200 podcasts in iTunes’ “News and Politics” category, Thannert said.

    Thannert, an office manager, has no law enforcement training, but has researched “hundreds, maybe thousands” of missing-persons cases online as a hobby for more than a decade, she said.

    “It’s a topic that I find equally fascinating and tragic at the same time,” Thannert said. “I’ve always had an interest in what happened and how it could be possible that somebody would just disappear off the face of the Earth.”

    Unlike other missing-person cases, there is little information available about Swedell, she said.

    “Normally on Reddit, with a missing-persons case, if it’s a popular one with the media, there will be thousands and thousands of people commenting,” Thannert said. “Susan has received very little publicity over the past 30 years, and her Reddit threads reflect that. There is barely anything available on the Internet.

    “I’m not sure why her case has been ignored for 30 years, but it’s just incredibly tragic and unfortunate for her and her family,” Thannert said.

    Thannert, 30, records her podcast in the attic of her Minneapolis home. She has interviewed many of the people connected with the case, including the gas-station attendant and former co-workers at Kmart.

    “My theory changes with every person I speak to,” Thannert said. “I do not have a theory that I am tied to at this point. It just seems there is so much that could have happened. My purpose really is to explore that.”

    Christine and Kathy Swedell show Susan Swedell’s yearbook picture from a Stillwater High School class of 1986 yearbook. (Jean Pieri / Pioneer Press)
    spike likes this.
  2. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member


    Kathy and Christine Swedell live together in Brooklyn Park, where Christine works as a classroom aide at an elementary school.

    Christine said her life stopped when her sister disappeared. She never learned to drive, never had a romantic relationship, never got married, never had children.

    “She was so much a part of me that, trying to live without her, I have felt only half the person I used to be — if that,” Christine Swedell said. “Like a bird with only one wing.”

    She remembers being petrified the first time she left the house after her sister’s disappearance. “I was extremely leery around people,” she said. “I was scared that the man that took Sue would jump out of nowhere and take me.”

    She said her grades suffered to the point that she almost didn’t graduate. She stopped going to dances, football games and other high school activities.

    “How in the world could I have fun?” she said. “That did not equate. I got mad at people that would even mention it.”

    She suffered from anorexia and depression when she turned 19, the age at which her sister went missing.

    “I weighed 84 pounds,” she said. “I was just fine with that because maybe people could now visibly see the pain. I almost died, and I didn’t care.”

    Now, three decades later, she just wants her sister to come home.

    “Anybody looking in from the outside is probably thinking, ‘Come on. It’s been 30 years. Be realistic,'” she said. “But when you’re inside of it, you’re not thinking that way. There is this bubble of hope.”

    The resolution of the Jacob Wetterling case and the details that were released during Heinrich’s court appearances hit the mother and daughter hard, Kathy Swedell said.

    “I dread that we may hear the same, but not knowing is awful,” she said. We really want closure. Thirty years, yes, it’s a long time, but there has never been a day that I haven’t thought about my daughter, so you want to know what happened to her. There has to be somebody out there who knows something.”

    Christine Swedell wrote a note to her sister last year:

    New program aims to stop sexual assault where it can start: at the bar
    To Sue:

    I have cried so many tears. I still don’t know how to be really happy without you. I need you here, with Mom and I, and we can go back to living life the way we wanted to. The life we dreamt about. You deserved so much happiness. I am still that 16-year-old girl looking out that window — waiting for you to come home. I dream about you every night. Please, please we need you back.

    With so much love, Christine

    Anyone with information about Susan Swedell’s disappearance is asked to call the Washington County sheriff’s office tip line at 651-430-7850.
    spike likes this.
  3. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member


    Tips surge in Lake Elmo teen Susan Swedell’s 1988 disappearance

    By MARY DIVINE | mdivine@pioneerpress.com | Pioneer Press
    PUBLISHED: January 10, 2018 at 7:00 pm | UPDATED: January 11, 2018 at 10:50 am

    New tips concerning Susan Swedell, who went missing during a blizzard in Lake Elmo on Jan. 19, 1988, have been coming in to the Washington County sheriff’s office after a Pioneer Press report on the case was published Sunday.

    Sheriff Dan Starry said his office has received eight tips this week about Swedell; her case has been getting renewed attention as the 30th anniversary of her disappearance nears.

    The tips range from people calling with information “that they feel could help the investigation” to a person who came to the office and asked to be interviewed about the case, Starry said. He would not give additional details.

    “For us, it’s still an active case,” he said. “We’re leaving no stone unturned. We want to make sure that we look at everything.”

    During a blizzard on Jan. 19, 1988, Swedell finished her shift at Kmart in Oak Park Heights at 9 p.m. and headed home to Lake Elmo to watch a movie and eat popcorn with her mother and her sister.

    A half-hour later, a gas-station attendant gave her permission to leave her overheated car at the K Station, a mile from home. The clerk said she saw Swedell get into another car with a man. She hasn’t been seen since.

    Swedell’s case has gotten more attention since the sentencing of Danny Heinrich last year in connection with the Jacob Wetterling case, Minnesota’s most high-profile missing-child case.

    The Washington County sheriff’s office has formed a cold-case unit to investigate, and a new podcast — called “Still Missing” — has focused on her disappearance.

    “The support and interest in Susan’s case by the public is fantastic, and perhaps exactly the thing it needs,” said Kara Thannert, who is bringing attention to the disappearance through her Still Missing podcast. Downloads and streams of the podcasts have jumped 33 percent the past few days, she said.

    RELATED: Where is Susan Swedell? Washington County reignites 30-year-old investigation

    The sheriff’s office has partnered with the Washington County attorney’s office and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to form the cold-case unit, led by Washington County sheriff’s office Cmdr. Andy Ellickson.

    A $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to her whereabouts.

    Anybody with information about Swedell’s disappearance can call the sheriff’s tip line at 651-430-7850.

    The information “might be super innocuous to them, but it might be the piece we need to get to the next step,” Ellickson said. “Anything that we get, we’re documenting and following up with. Some of (the tips) are a little bit more out there than others, but some people knew her or knew about her. Just getting any information about the people she hung around with, anything, would be good.”

    Officials are planning a billboard campaign to raise awareness of the case and have set a Jan. 19 news conference at the Washington County Law Enforcement Center.

    In addition, the sheriff’s office, Swedell’s family and friends, and officials from the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center will hold a walk “to show solidarity and support” at 10 a.m. Jan. 20 at Maplewood Mall.

    White Bear Lake search for vulnerable adult canceled, after man is found safe
    “So many people have been following the podcast and family and friends of Sue wanted to gather, so this event will help bring everyone together,” said Christine Swedell, Sue’s sister. “We will be raising awareness of Sue’s case and thanking supportive people.”

    “We want to make sure that this case is not forgotten,” Starry adds. “We want to make sure we make such a big splash from here on out that if anyone has any information, that they bring it forward. It’s all about getting this case resolved.”

    spike likes this.
  4. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member


    Susan Anne Swedell: Missing 24 Years

    ON January 19, 1988, 19 year old Susan Anne Swedell phoned her family members at 4:00 PM from her place of work, K-Mart, in Oak Park Heights, MN. She had said she planned on going straight home from work and watch movies. Before she had left work, it was noted she had changed into a short skirt, which was odd because it was blizzard-like outside that day.
    On Susan's way home, her vehicle overheated. She stopped at a gas station along Highway 5 and at the corner of Manning Avenue, which was one mile away from her home in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. The gas station attendant let Susan leave her car there, and observed her leaving with an unidentified man shortly afterwards who had been waiting for her near the station. The man she left with was described as having shoulder length curly hair, tall, unshaven and a well built physique. He was wearing a leather jacket at the time Susan entered his car. Susan has never been seen or heard from since, and the man is still unidentified.

    When Susan vanished, she was 5'4" and 100 pounds. She has sandy brown hair and hazel eyes. She has had extensive dental work and both her ears are pierced. She was last seen wearing a winter jacket with earrings in and a short skirt. She goes by "Sue". At the time she vanished, she was working two jobs, and was active at Christ Lutheran Church. She graduated from Stillwater High school, then attended University of Wisconsin at River Falls for a semester. She returned home because she felt she was not ready to live away from home yet. She moved back in with her mother and younger sister.

    When Susan's car was found, her driver's license was still inside. Her mother took the vehicle to a repair shop and it was found out the petcock on the radiator was loosened and the car had no water in it, which explains why her car overheated. Law enforcement believes someone deliberately loosened the petcock, and followed Susan in hopes the car would malfunction so they could offer her a ride.
    At the time she vanished, her loved ones reported she had been receiving phone calls at work from a man named Dale in 1989. It is not known how he knew Susan, why he was calling her or if he is connected to her disappearance.

    Susan's mother believed she made it home that night because the red pantsuit she had changed out of previously at work that day were found balled up on her bed. There were dirty dishes in the sink, as well as the smell of fresh cigarette smoke. There was no sign of Susan herself, and it was unknown if she was ever in her residence that night. In 2006, there was activity on her social security card, but it turned out to be a case of identity theft.


    Susan was receiving phone calls at her place of work, K-Mart, from a man named Dale when she vanished.
    I will first note how odd it is for Susan to have changed into a skirt during cold weather. Could she have had plans to go out and about for the night? Did she have plans with "Dale"? I also have many questions as to who Dale is. Was he a friend? Someone Susan had a quiet relationship with? It seems that is most probable because why else would he call her at work instead of at home? I also wonder if "Dale" is who met her at the gas station. Possibly she called him from work to let him know she was headed home. Maybe he knew to meet her there because he knew her route home. Not saying he is responsible for her disappearance, but I do find those phone calls quite odd.

    The unknown man Susan was seen leaving with was sporting a leather jacket, more in the "rocker" Bret Michaels style than biker style.
    I also agree with Law Enforcement that her car was deliberately tampered with to malfunction so her abductor (I do believe she was abducted) could offer her a ride. It makes sense why this person would sit and wait for her as she came out of the gas station. I only wonder if she knew the person she got the ride from. We must remember cell phones were definitely not common back then, so the fact this person was waiting for her at the gas station as her car stalled is a big factor in their intentions. As for whether or not she ever made it back to the residence, could the person who had taken her been responsible for her pants being there? Maybe the person took her back her home to have her make it look like he brought her back there, and then she just left. Or, if this is someone she had a relationship with (Dale), maybe they went back to her place to hang out, and things went sour. I think if we found out who Dale was, if she was seeing someone, if she smoked, and what time her mom came home to find her missing, it would help. I did not see it listed that Susan smoked, so I'm wondering if the anonymous, leather jacket rocker smoked, because that would piece together the cigarette smoke.
    What should also be noted is that Stillwater Prison is ten minutes away from Lake Elmo. They have a level 4 maximum security, as well as minimum security. It would be interesting to check records to see any Dales who were incarcerated before or after she vanished.

    Despite this being a very baffling case, it is still actively pursued today. If you know absolutely anything about the disappearance of Susan, who "Dale" is or know someone who matches the style and physical description of the unknown person who gave her a ride in 1988, please step forward and give her loved ones some peace. There is a $25,000 reward for anything that leads to Susan.


    Please Contact:
    Washington County Sheriff's Office

    Charley Project
    NAMUS File
    The Search Goes on for Susan
    Whatsnext and spike like this.
  5. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member


    Sheriff asks for public’s help in 1988 disappearance of young Lake Elmo woman

    By MARY DIVINE | mdivine@pioneerpress.com | Pioneer Press
    PUBLISHED: January 19, 2018 at 3:07 pm | UPDATED: January 19, 2018 at 10:34 pm

    Clutching the last card that her sister ever gave her, Christine Swedell implored the public Friday to help solve the case of Susan Swedell’s disappearance.

    Washington County Sheriff Dan Starry addresses reporters while Christine Swedell, left, stands next to a poster about her sister Susan Swedell’s disappearance 30 years ago, during a news conference at the Washington County Law Enforcement Center in Stillwater on Jan. 19, 2018. Also pictured: Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, left, and Washington County Commissioner Gary Kriesel. (Mary Divine / Pioneer Press)
    “On Jan. 19, 1988, my sister vanished and has not been seen or heard from since,” Christine Swedell said during a news conference at the Washington County Law Enforcement Center in Stillwater to mark the 30th anniversary of the event. “Our lives were tragically pulled apart by evil that night. Every single day feels like a living hell without her. All the while, someone out there knows what happened to my dear Sue.

    “It is unbearable and sickening,” she said.

    It was snowing hard at 9 p.m. when Susan Swedell, 19, finished her shift at Kmart in Oak Park Heights and headed home to Lake Elmo to watch a movie and eat popcorn with her mother and sister.

    A half-hour later, a gas-station attendant gave her permission to leave her overheated car at the K Station, a mile from home. The clerk said she saw Swedell get into another car with a man. She hasn’t been seen since.

    “Imagine 30 years without knowing what happened to your loved one,” said Christine Swedell, who was 16 at the time. “It is beyond heartbreaking (and) carries a crushing pain that only evolves as years go by. Life for many of our family members became difficult to understand without her. Grandparents and aunts and uncles all passed away with only one wish — to know what happened to Sue.”

    The Washington County sheriff’s office last year formed a cold-case unit to investigate Swedell’s disappearance, and a new podcast — “Still Missing” — has focused on the case.

    New program aims to stop sexual assault where it can start: at the bar

    Sheriff Dan Starry said Friday that his office has received 10 to 20 tips this month about Swedell, including one as recent as Thursday. The tips have ranged from people wanting to share their stories about Swedell to people having specific information about the case, he said.

    “We look at everything,” Starry said. “Someone out there knows the whereabouts of Sue. We are hopeful and encouraged that someone will do the right thing and share information so we can bring Susan home.”

    The sheriff’s office partnered with the Washington County attorney’s office and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to form the cold-case unit. A billboard campaign is underway, and a $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the closure of the case.

    Anybody with information about Swedell’s disappearance can call the sheriff’s tip line at 651-430-7850.

    “Somebody can provide us the answers to know where Susan went that night,” said BCA Superintendent Drew Evans. “We are very committed to finding those answers. This team will not give up until we determine where Susan went and, hopefully, can bring her home to her family.”

    Evans said advances in technology over the past 30 years, particularly in DNA testing, could help.

    “We’re looking at all the forensic evidence that we have,” he said. “We don’t only look at it five years after, 10 years after, but we’re constantly evaluating advances in DNA technology. There are a number of different tools — in terms of connecting dots — that the team would not have had back then.”

    Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said he is grateful that law officers “continue to seek justice for people, regardless of time, regardless of difficulty or how perplexing it might look.”

    “We are not letting go of any of these cases that we have,” Orput said. “We are going to seek justice our entire careers, and then it will go to the next generation. We’re not ever going to let go of this until we can hold someone accountable.”

    Christine Swedell said she and her mother, Kathy, appreciate the efforts of the team; Kathy Swedell was unable to attend the news conference because of illness. The Swedells, the sheriff’s office and the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center will hold a walk at 10 a.m. Saturday at Maplewood Mall; the public is invited to attend to show support.

    Christine Swedell, holding the “Sweet 16″ birthday card that her sister gave her in May 1997, said she has struggled since her sister’s disappearance.

    White Bear Lake search for vulnerable adult canceled, after man is found safe
    “For me, life became completely lost and the pain unbearable to a point I nearly lost my own life,” she said. “Here we are, 30 years later and still no answers, still no peace of mind, only an accumulation of unanswered questions and pain and grief that goes beyond words.”

    Her sister’s case, Christine Swedell said, “deserves all of our attention and — the most important of all — hope.”
    Whatsnext and spike like this.
  6. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member




    spike likes this.
  7. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    spike likes this.
  8. Redrover

    Redrover Well-Known Member

    Hmmm...I would imagine that this possibility has already been looked at, but is it possible that the attendant is responsible and he made up the story about the unshaven rocker guy and the ride? She left her purse and everything in the car. Seems to me if she knew that the car was not functioning properly it wasn't going to get fixed at night in a snow storm so she was going to have to leave it there over night. Can't imagine she would want to leave her purse in it overnight. I guess her leaving her purse in the car and hopping in the car with someone else doesn't make sense to me and as far as I can see only one person is claiming this......the attendant.
  9. Summer_breeze

    Summer_breeze Blowing through the Jasmine in my mind

    Closs' return brings hope to family of missing Washington County girl

    Posted: Jan 19 2019 03:44PM CST
    Updated: Jan 19 2019 03:49PM CST

    (FOX 9) - Jayme Closs' return has given new hope to many families still looking for loved ones who have gone missing.

    The Washington County Sheriff's Office shared one family's message as they continue searching for Susan Swedell, who went missing in 1988.

    "There is no way to truly know how devastating it is to have a loved one missing unless you have lived it. That uncertainty, that fear. The persistent hope. The recent return of Jayme Closs is an amazing, uplifting reminder that some families do receive answers," the department wrote on Facebook.

    Authorities are offering a reward of up to $25,000 in finding Sue. Those with any information are asked to call the tip line at 651-430-7850.

    According to the sheriff's office, the family wrote the following message for Sue:

    "January 19th, 2019, marks 31 years that our dear Sue has been missing
    31 years of not having enough information to find her
    31 years of life being turned upside down
    31 years of living in a nightmare
    To those around us, 31 years looks like she couldn’t possibly be still around—but when you are living though this, the not knowing, you don’t think that way, you still have and cling onto the hope, because yes, there is still hope. Please keep searching for Sue. Please keep the hope. Mom and I are lost without her.
    ~We love you dearly Sue~"

    shared one family's message as they continue searching for
  10. Summer_breeze

    Summer_breeze Blowing through the Jasmine in my mind

    Family of Stillwater woman missing for 30 years won't give up hope

    By Sarah Danik, FOX 9
    Posted May 18 2019 05:00PM CDT

    STILLWATER, Minn. (FOX 9) - Susan Swedell has been missing for more than 30 years, but her family has never given up hope her disappearance will be solved.

    They want to make sure people know her story no matter how many years have gone by.

    Sunday, Swedell’s family will hold a walk in Stillwater. They will have t-shirts and buttons with Susan’s picture and they are hoping the event keeps people talking about the 31-year-old case.

Share This Page