She Disappeared in 1972. Now, 'Finally,' Search Is Over

Remains found in 1974 identified as 15-year-old Florida girl
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2022 3:00 AM CDT
Updated Jun 11, 2022 4:15 PM CDT

In 1974, the remains of a teenage girl were found in Florida's Palm Beach County. Nearly five decades later, she finally has a name: Authorities have identified her as Susan Gale Poole, who was 15 when she went missing just before Christmas in 1972, Local 10 reports. They believe serial killer Gerard Schaefer, a former sheriff's deputy and a former police officer with the Wilton Manors Police Department, killed her, Local 12 reports. He was found guilty in 1973 of two other murders in the area, girls aged 16 and 17, and sentenced to life in prison—where he was fatally stabbed in 1996. He was implicated in as many as 30 deaths.

Schaefer was known to pick up female hitchhikers, and Poole had been known to hitchhike. When her body was found, "She was tied up, appeared to be tied up in the mangroves with wire to a tree," says a detective. "She was skeletal remains, totally nothing left of her except bones." Authorities couldn't find a DNA match at the time, but they recently re-tested the remains and found a match. "I knew something was wrong when I saw her purse on the couch of a friend of hers" after she disappeared, says Poole's sister. "I had always hoped she would come back. My search is finally over." Police so far have no evidence linking Schaefer to Poole, and are still asking for anyone with information to come forward, CNN reports. (Read more Florida stories.)

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