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NJ SUSAN WALSH: Missing from Nutley, NJ - 16 July 1996 - Age 36

Discussion in 'Missing 1990 to 1999' started by Scorpio, Jul 16, 2016.

  1. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2017
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  2. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member


    Susan Walsh (born February 18, 1960) was an American writer and freelance journalist who disappeared outside her home in Nutley, New Jersey on July 16, 1996. Walsh's disappearance was widely publicized into the late 1990s, especially after several newspapers and media outlets published articles alluding that her disappearance was potentially linked to the Russian mafia, as well as New York City's underground vampire community, both subjects that Walsh had investigated while writing for The Village Voice.

    Walsh's case has been profiled on multiple television programs, including Unsolved Mysteries in 1997 and Disappeared in 2012, and was also the subject of a 1998 book titled Piercing the Darkness: Undercover with Vampires in America Today by Katherine Ramsland.

    Walsh was born on February 18, 1960, and aspired to be a poet from a young age. Her upbringing was described as "troubled." Walsh attended William Paterson University where she studied English and writing, working as a journalist for the college's newspaper. Walsh worked intermittently as an erotic dancer and stripper to pay her tuition, and struggled with drug addiction and alcoholism while in college; nonetheless, Walsh graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1988, and afterward worked as a writer for engineering and business publications. She later worked as a writer for Screw magazine under Al Goldstein. Walsh gave birth to one son, David, in 1985, with husband Mark.

    On July 16, 1996, Walsh left her apartment complex in Nutley, New Jersey, which she shared with her son; her estranged husband, Mark, lived below Susan. Walsh had left to run errands and make a telephone call at a pay phone across the street, leaving her son in the care of her ex-husband. This was the last time she was seen. At the time of Walsh's disappearance, she was enrolled in a Master's program in English at New York University, which she had halfway completed, and was working as a freelance journalist, meanwhile supporting herself and her son by working various jobs as a stripper. At the time of her disappearance, Walsh's friends worried she was struggling with substance abuse problems after having maintained eleven years of sobriety.

    Police quickly ruled out Walsh's ex-husband as a suspect, and it was later noted that the page for the month of July 1996 had been mysteriously torn out of Walsh's calendar in her apartment.[6] Though police had little clues to go off of while investigating Walsh's disappearance, rumors circulated that her disappearance may have been connected to the investigative research she had been doing at the time. Walsh had written an in-depth report on a strip club ring in which members of the Russian mafia were allegedly forcing young girls into the sex industry, which was published in The Village Voice. Following this article, Walsh also explored an underground vampire community in New York City, but the newspaper did not run the story as they felt Walsh's writing on the matter was not objective. Ultimately, police were unable to establish any connections between Walsh's disappearance and her work on either article. Walsh established a friendship with journalist James Ridgeway during her time writing for The Village Voice, with Ridgeway referring to her as his "most reliable" writer.

    At the time, Walsh had also participated in a documentary produced by her friend, Jill Morley, titled Stripped, which detailed women working in the sex industry.[1][8] Walsh was recorded in a group interview for the film on July 14, 1996, two days before her disappearance, during which she made a reference to having a "stalker."[1] She had also hired herself out to a German documentary crew making a film about Russian immigrants becoming go-go dancers, and was also in the midst of developing a documentary on the subject with BBC shortly before her disappearance.[9] Walsh's last work was her contributions to the book Red Light: Inside the Sex Industry by James Ridgeway and Sylvia Plachy; Walsh served as the primary researcher for the book and also contributed photographs and personal writings within a month before her disappearance.
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  3. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    There is a lot of speculation about whether articles Susan wrote about could have possibly put her in danger or led her disappearance.

    Susan wrote many articles exposing the Russian mafia that were supposedly forcing young Russian women to work in strip clubs in New Jersey and New York. Susan starting receiving threats as a result of the articles and stated that there were two different contracts out for her murder. Some people also believe Susan's other projects also could have placed her in danger. Susan began venturing into the vampire sub-culture, who also owned clubs by people who claimed they were the ''undead'' and real blood drinkers. Susna began dating one of these Vampires who told her there were secret murders going on in the vampire world.

    Susan was really fascinated by this strange sub culture and wrote an article about it in The Village Voice, which they refused to print. Susan disappointed really about this, she really believed what these people were telling her.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2016
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  4. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member

    Investigation's Discovery's ''Disappeared'' did an excellent job in featuring Susan's case. You can watch the full episode here
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  5. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member


    Susan was also the subject of a Documentary titled ''Stripped'' A documentary about exotic dancers. Susan talked candidly about the difficult time she was going through, and that she had just lost 11 and a half years of sobriety because dancing became too painful for her, and that she had been hospitalized twice in the last week. She also mentioned that a stalker was harassing her on her pager. Susan disappeared 2 days after the documentary was filmed. Jill Morley handed the film over to police as evidence.
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  6. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member

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  7. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member


    Susan Walsh`s Impenetrable Disappearance is a 'Room of Mirrors,' Complex and Narcissistic!

    Is Susan Walsh still alive? A new Investigative Discovery program, part of their Disappeared series, has a lot of film footage of Susan that would lead you to believe it`s so. I`ve studied Susan Walsh`s multi-faceted case a great deal before, but learned something new from the ID special. One revelation I walk away with is that possible explanations as to her vanishing act are wrought with complexity and impenetrable veils of obfuscation, that collide in the face of logic.

    Well, I`ve known that all along, but the ID special underscores the mysteries to the tee, while applying a slightly different emphasis. If you`ll view the Unsolved Mysteries (with a trench-coated Robert Stack as your dapper host) feature once again, which was much closer to the event in question (July 16, 1996), you`ll see just what I mean. One item that was a little odd, is that Melissa Hines (Susan`s best friend) claims to have seen (on Unsolved Mysteries) the missing Susan Walsh once driving away with a man in a car.

    This unusual sighting was noticeably absent in the ID show. Had Melissa changed her mind about seeing Susan, after the passing of years (16 years since Susan disappeared)? Furthermore, Melissa is skeptical about a woman in Newark, New Jersey who claims that Susan lived with her for two weeks, while turning tricks on the streets of Newark. And yet these two sightings are complementary.
    Unsolved Mysteries gives more credence to the vampire cult research that Susan was involved in. Could there be a connection to her penetration into the coveted secrets of these vampire clubs? Susan was a ruthless investigative reporter, and would stop at nothing to get at the core of where the facts were leading her. Her role as an aspiring writer was given more reinforcement in Unsolved Mysteries also.

    Well, ID did spend quite a bit of time on Susan`s writing career, so maybe I`m unfair in my assessments? And yet a larger portion of time was spent looking at Susan`s job as a strpper. Actually, it can be observed, her career as a writer and a stripper were merged into one and the same entity. Susan played a large role in the research and preparation of James Ridgeway`s (he helped in launching Susan`s writing career at The Village Voice) book Red Light, which probes the s[e]x industry.

    But a problem with this, is that Ms. Walsh is featured herself in Red Light as a dancer who is vulnerable to a clientele of shady characters, one of which may have been stalking her. There are mirrors reflecting and refracting here! This is where the complexity enters the picture. The narcissism of Susan`s research against revelations that she was undone by the very dark forces that she was probing as an undercover reporter.

    Couple this `Room of Mirrors` with the unfortunate information she had fallen off the wagon and was drinking and drugging again, after 11 years of sobriety. This is significant. Did Susan leave her red-bricked home in Nutley, New Jersey one muggy July afternoon so she could turn tricks to support a new found drug habit? Or was a pizza man across the street from a pay phone she frequently used, correct in saying he saw her return to the red-brick building she called home?

    Both theories can`t be right! And why was the month of July pulled out of her personal calendar, where she seemed to keep a diary of her day to day activities? The loose ends in Susan Walsh`s unsolved disappearance only increase exponentially with each new piece of information investigator`s give us. Someone please publish all her writings! This will help.
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  8. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member

    Susan Walsh was last seen at her home, at 35 Washington Street in Nutley, NJ sometime around noon on July, 16, 1996. Susan lived with her estranged husband and their 6 year old son, David. She told him she was going to make a few phone calls from the public phone a few blocks away and she would be right back. She left her wallet, pager and paperbook. However, a pizza man stated he saw Susan return to her apartment.
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  9. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    I'm really surprised that I've never hears of Susan before! Thank you for this thread @Scorpio.

    There are a lot of possible scenarios. The Russian mafia was not to be crossed in that day.
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  10. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member


    NamUs MP # 9841
    Susan Walsh
    Essex County, New Jersey
    36 year old white female

    Case Information
    Status Missing
    First name Susan
    Middle name
    Last name Walsh
    Date last seen July 16, 1996 00:00
    Date entered 03/23/2011
    Age last seen 36 to years old
    Age now 56 years old
    Race White
    Sex Female
    Height (inches) 66.0
    Weight (pounds) 110.0 to 120.0

    City Nutley
    State New Jersey
    Zip code
    County Essex
    Susan Walsh had been depressed prior to her disappearance on or about 07/16/1996. Susan was last seen wearing a gold ring with a black stone.

    Hair color Blond/Strawberry
    Head hair
    Bleached Blonde
    Body hair

    Facial hair

    Left eye color Blue
    Right eye color Blue
    Eye description

    Scars and marks
    Scar on her right wrist.

    Status: Dental information / charting is available and entered

    Status: Sample submitted - Tests complete

    Fingerprint Information
    Status: Fingerprint information is currently not available

    Investigating Agency
    Title Lt.
    First name Steven
    Last name Rogers
    Phone 973-284-4940
    Case number 0716
    Date reported

    Jurisdiction Local
    Agency Nutley Police Department
    Address 1
    Address 2
    City Nutley
    State New Jersey

    Agency New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit
    Address 1
    Address 2
    State New Jersey

    Phone 800-709-7090
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  11. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

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  12. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

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  13. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    This is the direction Susan would have walked.

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  14. spike

    spike Bronze Member

    I remember this case as it is near my husband's family.

    Many possibilities.
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  15. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    The Russian Mob is active in New York City and Bighton Beach. New York City is visible across the Hudson River, from Nutley.

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  16. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member


    Part of complete coverage on
    Nancy Grace's Cold Cases

    Woman vanishes and so does a page from her calendar
    By Alexis Weed, Nancy Grace
    December 7, 2009 9:46 a.m. EST


    • Susan Walsh said she was walking to phone booth before she went missing
    • Walsh worked as a dancer and wrote a piece on immigrant strippers and the Russian mob
    • Walsh's father says she believed there were contracts out on her life
    • Police uncertain if she might have been murdered or simply disappeared
    (CNN) -- She was a nightclub dancer, a mother, an aspiring writer.

    And torn from the calendar where she kept her daily schedule was the month she disappeared: July 1996.

    Susan Walsh, who was 36 at the time, was last seen around noon on July 16, 1996. She told her estranged husband that she was headed to a pay phone a half-block from her apartment in Nutley, New Jersey.

    Walsh and her husband, Mark, had been home in their connecting apartments with their 11-year-old son, who was asleep, said Detective Lt. Steven Rogers of the Nutley Police Department.

    "No one actually saw her leave the house," said Rogers, who became involved in the case in 2003 when he was assigned to command the department's detective bureau. "No one saw her on the phone."

    Walsh had just written a story about immigrant strippers allegedly controlled and exploited by the Russian mob.

    "This opened up a threat to her," said her father, Floyd Merchant. She believed two contracts had been issued for her murder after the story appeared in The Village Voice, said Merchant. She feared for her life, he said, and had begun drinking again after 11 years of sobriety.

    Now, 13 years later, the idea that the publication of Walsh's story led to her disappearance remains just a theory.

    "I don't believe at this point there's any connection," Rogers said.

    Despite her passion as an aspiring journalist, Walsh struggled to escape the lure of easy money she earned working as a nightclub dancer in the New York City metro area, her father said. She had been working in clubs for four years, in part, Merchant said, to support her son. Her dancing experience gave her access to the clubs, where she collected information for her story.

    "She stretched herself in 20 different directions," Merchant said.

    Walsh's potentially risky lifestyle fueled speculation that she vanished on purpose.

    "They did believe that, at one time," Merchant said. "That she walked away on her own." He said he believed his daughter's dancing discredited her with police and detracted from the investigation.

    But Walsh made no apparent preparations to leave home. She left behind nearly all of her personal belongings, including her purse, money and medication. Most important, police say, she left behind her only child, David.

    "Susan was a devoted mother," Merchant said, adding that she would not have left her son voluntarily.

    Rogers said Mark Walsh has never been considered a suspect.

    The investigation has proven difficult because some of the people involved in Susan Walsh's life have not been located," Rogers said, and others have died. Police still are searching for a second person of interest who they believe has information about the case.

    Rogers does not rule out the possibility that Walsh is alive.

    But Merchant believes his daughter's life was in jeopardy.

    "The last time I met her she was worried about [someone] having her killed," Merchant said. "She was coming apart at the seams."

    Detectives searched the couple's home a day or two after her husband reported her disappearance. Nothing led them to believe any criminal act occurred in the home. But her wall calendar, seized during the initial investigation, was missing the month of July.

    "To me, that's significant," Rogers said. "Did she have something planned that someone didn't want us to see?"

    Police say they are still investigating. Anyone with information can contact the Nutley Police Department at (973) 284-4940.

    "Understand that there are two heartbroken parents who need closure on this," Rogers said. "If anyone has information, or if the person who knows what happens reads this, let us know. If they are directly involved we would work with prosecutors to make sure the right thing is done."
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  17. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

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  18. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member


    Susan Walsh


    Real Name: Susan Walsh
    Nicknames: No known nicknames
    Location: Nutley, New Jersey
    Date: July 16, 1996

    Occupation: Reporter and Stripper
    Date of Birth: February 18, 1960
    Height: 5'6"
    Weight: 110 pounds
    Marital Status: Divorced
    Characteristics: Caucasian female. Bleached blond hair, blue eyes

    Details: On July 16, 1996, 36-year-old Susan Walsh hurriedly dropped her son, David, off at her estranged husband's house. Although she didn't say where she was going, she claimed she would return within a few minutes, but she never did, vanishing into the streets of Nutley, New Jersey. Although authorities believe that she chose to disappear, it's also believed she met with foul play, possibly murdered by mobsters, dying of a drug overdose or vanishing into the local strange sub-culture of sex and danger. From her early childhood, her dream was to be a poet and a writer, but a broken home and unhappy childhood made reaching her goal a difficult struggle. By the time she was in her twenties, she was an alcoholic, drug addict and stripper. Stripping helped pay her way through college, but she still kept her dream in mind. She graduated in 1984, and began cleaning up her act. By 1988, she was four years sober, married, and a devoted mother. The two things that were most important to her were her son and her job as a journalist, but she and her husband eventually separated, and in order to support David, she went back to stripping. Ironically, stripping provided the critical boost to her journalist career. She eventually got an internship at New York's free-wheeling "Village Voice," researching the sex industry. She soon found a great story about Russian mobsters in New Jersey who were allegedly forcing young Russian women to work in strip clubs like slaves. She earned praise for her article, but she also received threats and felt she may have made enemies. Her next project may have also placed her in danger. In the early Nineties, bizarre vampire clubs began appearing in New York's Greenwich Village boasting a wealthy clientele, many of whom claimed to be real blood drinkers. She started researching this vampire world, even dating a man who claimed to be part of the undead. She wrote a detailed article about vampirism, but she apparently believed too much into it and became upset when the "Village Voice" did not run her story. In June of 1996, a month before she vanished, her career was again on an up-swing. She had done primary research for the "Red Light: Inside the Sex" by James Ridgeway and Sylvia Plachy. However, the night of the publisher's party, James noticed that her wrists were bandaged, and he learned that she was taking tranquilizers and had started drinking again. She however brushed it off and said she would get help if she thought needed it. By then, Susan was back to dancing, and during a documentary made by an old friend, Jill Moreley, she talked about the toll that stripping had taken on her life, and how it was difficult for her to hold on to even life. Two days after Jill last saw her, she mysterious disappeared. It was believed that she collapsed from depression and poor health, but police realized that if that were the case, her body would have been found by now or she would have surfaced in a hospital. Her family and friends believe her continued absence meant that she was deceased. However, the authorities decided that for some unknown reason, she chose to disappear. Detectives have spoken to several people who have claimed to have seen her, including one of her old friends, Melissa Hines. Melissa claims that a month after she vanished, she saw her next to a black car, and when she yelled her name, she and the men she was with got into the car and drove off. The license plate number was tracked down, and the driver said he believed that he was with her around the time she was spotted, but he could not be certain. Melissa believes that if she is alive, she may be deliberately hiding out because she was in danger and that the mob was after her. Before she vanished, she and Melissa were followed several times. To this day, nobody knows what really happened to her.
    Suspects: Many believe that Susan met with foul play and that her disappearance was related to the Russian mob, or it was related to the vampire clubs and cults. Some believe she died of a drug overdose, while the police believe she left on her own accord.
    Extra Notes: This case first aired on the January 31, 1997 episode. It was also featured on Disappeared.
    Results: Unsolved
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