Cops believe Poole was possibly killed by serial killer Gerard Schaefer, who was found guilty in the slaying of two girls, 16 and 17.
Trigger Warning: This story mentions graphic details of crime and murder which readers may find distressing.
In 1974, the skeletal remains of a young girl were found tied to a tree. After nearly five decades, thanks to advanced DNA technology, it has been revealed the remains belonged to Susan Poole and detectives believe she may have been slain by a police officer who was also a serial killer, according to CBS News.
15-year-old Poole, a high school dropout, was reported missing by her family just before Christmas in 1972. The teen was living in her family's home in a trailer park near Fort Lauderdale and also with a friend in a nearby apartment, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Detective William Springer said during a news conference.
On the day she disappeared, "Nobody knew where she went," he said, adding that her clothes and pocketbook were left at the friend's apartment. Close to two years since she disappeared, sheriff's deputies were called to a remote location in Palm Beach County where a skeleton was found.
"She was tied up in the mangroves with wire to a tree," Springer said. "She was skeletal remains, totally nothing left of her except bones."
The case died out due to limited access to technology in those days. They did not find anything after investigators submitted DNA from the remains to a national missing person database in 2015.
A young woman was found tied up in the mangroves of an area known as Burnt Bridges on A1A, in 1974. Almost 50 years later and thanks to the advancements of technology, she has been identified as: Susan Poole. #TheNameless pic.twitter.com/78ojlfSrO1— PBSO (@PBCountySheriff) June 2, 2022
But, in December 2021, with the help of Othram, a Texas-based forensics lab that builds DNA profiles using genealogy, they identified the remains as Poole and led investigators to her mother, who is now 90, and her siblings, according to PEOPLE.
“The family was happy to know what happened,” Springer said. “You know it’s been a long time waiting to see what happened to their sister.”
Now, Springer believes Poole was possibly killed by serial killer Gerard Schaefer, who was found guilty in the slaying of two girls, 16 and 17. Both were found mutilated and decapitated in April 1973. "He lived in Broward County, in the area where Susan Poole lived," Springer noted. "He got arrested for kidnapping two girls, taking them out on A1A and tying them up in the mangroves."
Any evidence against Schaefer would be circumstantial, he added. “Other than the MO that she’s in the mangroves and she’s tied up in the mangroves,” Springer said. “I mean not many people were doing that in the 70s except him.”
Susan’s mother is still alive and all we need is a lead. Who could have committed this heinous crime? Det. Springer is asking to speak to her friends:— PBSO (@PBCountySheriff) June 2, 2022
- Julie Hunt
- Michelle Williamson
- Greg Anderson
These three could help us find the missing piece and give her family closure. pic.twitter.com/bBOauTYZwB
Schaefer, who was killed in prison in 1995, was implicated in up to 30 deaths. He was a local police officer and sheriff’s deputy in Marin County. Springer's only wish now is to talk to friends of Poole who lived in the same trailer park so he can figure out her final days and confirm that it was Schaefer who was behind the little one's death, per the New York Post.
“What I’m trying to do is piece together her last weeks, what her activities were,” he said. “She did not go to school, her mother said she had dropped out of school so I need to find out what her activities were.”
Cover Image Source: Twitter | PBSO (@PBCountySheriff)