Monday, 13 July 2015

The Two Susans Murders

Two unsolved murders that seemed to come from a script for "Criminal Minds," for twenty five years, were thought to be the work of a possible serial killer.  However, extensive DNA testing proved that the two victims were murdered by different people.  This was the case of the "Two Susans" in St Paul, Minnesota in the 1980`s.  What was initially bizarre, was that the girls with the same forename, were murdered in the same neighbourhood, exactly two years apart.  The victims also wore very similar raincoats.  Was this a man who liked to kill women called Susan?  And in the same area?  Police could not be faulted for thinking on such lines as it is a most unbelievable coincidence.  And coincidence it much later turned out to be.

    Susan Peterson aged 28, was found in an alley by 500 Block on Mount Curve Boulevard in the upscale Highland Park district of St Paul on May 17th 1983.  She had been sexually assaulted and strangled.  Then two years later to the day, 16 year old Susan Rheineck was found not far from the scene of the first murder.  She too, had been sexualy assaulted then killed.  But strangely, she was found tied to a tree in a hilly area, close to the Mississippi River, by 1400 Block, on Mississippi Boulevard.  Both victims had similar coats, and both had been last seen in the same part of town.  Convinced a serial killer was on the loose, over the next few years on May 16th & 17th, Police were on alert in University Avenue and in the Highland Park area in general, but nothing happened.  The cases ran cold.

    Sergeant Anita Muldoon of the cold case unit had said that both women had some trouble in their lives but did not elaborate.  Then evidence in 2009 was subjected to much DNA testing, revealing two different profiles, meaning two different killers.  There was talk of bringing retired cops back to help the cold case unit, but the Police union strongly objected.  The unit was set to review well over 100 unsolved homicides.