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Bones Found in 1974 May Be Linked to Serial Killer, Authorities Say

In the mangroves off a Florida freeway in 1974, the authorities discovered human bones that appeared to have been the stays of a physique that had been tied to a tree with wire. How they ended up there was a thriller for many years, and makes an attempt to determine the sufferer went chilly.

Last week, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office introduced that the bones had been recognized because the stays of Susan Poole, a 15-year-old lady who disappeared in Broward County simply earlier than Christmas 1972. The authorities imagine Gerard Schaefer, a serial killer who was convicted in 1973 of the mutilation homicide of two Broward County women and is suspected of different killings, is the “best suspect” in Susan’s homicide. Mr. Schaefer died in 1995, when he was killed in jail whereas serving a life sentence, in accordance to the authorities.

At a information convention on Thursday, Detective William Springer of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office stated that Susan’s bones have been recognized utilizing a course of often called genetic family tree, which entails evaluating genetic proof with ancestry information. Genetic family tree has been a key device for figuring out greater than 40 homicide and rape suspects in circumstances which might be years previous, together with the notorious Golden State Killer in California.

Little is understood about Susan’s disappearance. When she was reported lacking in 1972, Detective Springer stated, she had left garments and a pocketbook at an condo the place she was staying. She had dropped out of college earlier than she disappeared, he stated.

“Nobody knew where she went,” Detective Springer stated. “What I’m trying to do is piece together her last weeks.”

When Susan’s bones have been discovered in the mangroves of Palm Beach County, Detective Springer stated, there was “totally nothing left of her except the bones.”

“Her clothing was pretty well deteriorated by then,” he stated.

Around the time of Susan’s disappearance, Mr. Schaefer, a former police officer, lived close to Susan and had been arrested and charged with kidnapping two women and tying them up in the mangroves. Mr. Schaefer was out on bail on the time Susan went lacking, Detective Springer stated.

“His M.O. was to pick up young girls hitchhiking,” Detective Springer stated. “Everything kind of fits.”

When the police raided the house of Mr. Schaefer’s mom in 1973, they discovered objects together with drivers licenses and jewellery that belonged to a number of victims, Mr. Springer stated.

At the information convention on Thursday, Detective Springer stated that Susan’s household “was happy to know what happened.”

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is now wanting to communicate to three mates of Susan and anybody who may learn about her whereabouts when she went lacking. There is not any bodily proof to hyperlink Mr. Schaefer to Susan, Detective Springer stated, including that he would have to depend on circumstantial proof to shut the case.

“All we need is a lead,” the office stated in a press release. “Who could have committed this heinous crime?”

Mr. Schaefer is believed to have killed a lot of different women, together with Peggy Rahn and Wendy Stevenson, who disappeared in 1969, in accordance to The Charlie Project, a company that catalogs particulars about lacking individuals. Mr. Schaefer was by no means charged with their murders, however he admitted to killing them in a letter he wrote in 1989, in accordance to the group.

Mr. Schaefer’s crimes have been nicely documented over time. He is the topic of a documentary and two books. In one e book, “American Ripper: The Enigma of America’s Serial Killer Cop,” by Patrick Kendrick, a neighborhood good friend of Mr. Schaefer described him as “preoccupied with girls.”

“He had a fascination with women like in a dirty little boy kind of way, and he didn’t lose that,” Mr. Kendrick stated in an interview on Thursday.

Mr. Kendrick stated that he intends to assist the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, beginning with reviewing lists of proof that was discovered the place Mr. Schaefer lived. Mr. Kendrick, who has been writing about Mr. Schaefer for the reason that Eighties, stated he had a protracted historical past of letter writing with Mr. Schaefer when he was in jail.

Noting that Mr. Schaefer’s “M.O.” was to choose up girls who have been hitchhiking and kill them, Mr. Kendrick stated that he was not shocked to see that Mr. Schaefer was named a suspect in Susan’s killing.

“It fits the bill,” Mr. Kendrick stated. “The timing’s right.”

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