Susan Walsh: Found or Missing? Is She Dead or Alive?

One day in July 1996, Susan Walsh seemingly left home to make a phone call but didn’t return when she said she would. The police conducted an extensive investigation to locate her, but there was little evidence to support this. One of the cases featured on Paramount+’s ‘Never Seen Again’ is Susan’s. So, if you’re curious to discover what led to her disappearance and the recent updates in that story, here’s what we know.

What happened to Susan Walsh’s life?

Susan Walsh was born February 1960. She grew up in middle-class families. After high school, she attended a New Jersey state university to study English and communications. The aspiring journalist was writing for the college newspaper at the time and graduated in 1984. Susan intermittently worked as an exotic dancer to finance her master’s degree at New York University. She was also a reporter intern at The Village Voice.

Image Credit: news.com.au

Susan Walsh, then 36 years old, divorced Mark Walsh and dropped her son David, 11 years, on July 16, 1996. They lived together in Nutley in New Jersey. According to reports, she was going to the nearby payphone to make a call and meet someone. However, Mark didn’t remember seeing Susan leaving the house, and she didn’t return after that. In the end, Susan’s family reported her missing within a short time, prompting authorities to launch a desperate search.

Is Susan Walsh Still Alive or Dead?

The authorities discovered that Susan was not present at the time of the call. There was also no record of Susan calling back from the payphone. It was as if she had vanished into thine own ether. Things had been looking up for Susan in the years preceding that. She published an article in The Village Voice that claimed Russian mobsters had forced immigrant women into sex.

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Image Credit: Floyd Merchant/CNN

Sometime after the article was published, Susan’s behavior began to change. According to her father she believed that there were two contracts for her death and had been drinking since she was sober for over a year. Susan had also been reported to have taken Xanax, and she stopped taking medications for her bipolar disorder. She was becoming increasingly paranoid, and she talked to her friends about being followed by the mob.

Susan had been working as a researcher on a book about corruption in the sex industry. In June 1996, at a publisher’s party, James Ridgway, the book’s co-author, remembered her wrists being bandaged; he was worried about Susan’s drug and alcohol use. However, despite all this information, authorities didn’t have much to go on regarding her whereabouts.

Some speculated about Susan’s connection to an underground vampire subculture in New York City, New York. She was responding to a James tip about blood missing from local hospitals at the time. Susan learned about human blood drinkers and became a part of that subculture. Her work began to lose objectivity. However, nothing concrete connected Susan’s disappearance to it.

While Mark was never considered a suspect, there had been conflicting reports regarding whether he let the authorities carry out forensic testing at Susan’s apartment. The police only found that her July page was missing from her calendar. Over the years, the authorities have stated they didn’t think her death was connected to the Russian mob. The family has maintained she would never leave her son behind, and given that her belongings were still at home, it doesn’t seem likely she left of her own accord.

In 2006, the police announced they were pursuing new leads, and an ex-boyfriend of Susan’s, Christian Pepo, mentioned she was being stalked and harassed by Billy Walker, another ex, in the time leading up to her disappearance. Christian claimed that Susan had recorded Billy threatening her death and had a plan to get rid. The case is still open and, as of 2009 authorities, they had not ruled out Susan’s existence. Arthur Merchant, her half-brother filed a lawsuit against Nutley Police Department in September 2020 for information about the investigation. Before this, her father had engaged a private detective for the investigation.

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