Susan Walsh (missing person)
Susan Walsh (February 18, 1960 – disappeared July 16, 1996) was an American writer and freelance journalist who disappeared outside her home in Nutley, New Jersey, on July 16, 1996. Walsh's disappearance was widely publicized into the late 1990s, especially after several newspapers and media outlets published articles implying that her disappearance was potentially linked to the Russian mafia or New York City's underground vampire community, both subjects that she had investigated while writing for The Village Voice.
Undated photo of Walsh
February 18, 1960
|Disappeared||July 16, 1996 (aged 36)|
Nutley, New Jersey, US
|Status||Missing for 24 years, 3 months and 8 days|
|Education||William Paterson College|
New York University
|Occupation||Journalist, writer, stripper|
|Employer||Al Goldstein, Screw Magazine|
The Village Voice
|Height||5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)|
Walsh's case has been profiled on multiple television programs, including Unsolved Mysteries in 1997 and Disappeared in 2012. Walsh was also the subject of a 1998 book titled Piercing the Darkness: Undercover with Vampires in America Today by Katherine Ramsland.
Susan Walsh was born Susan Young on February 18, 1960. She aspired to be a poet from a young age. Her upbringing has been described as "troubled." Walsh attended William Paterson University where she studied English and writing; while there, she was employed as a journalist for the university newspaper. Walsh worked intermittently as an erotic dancer and stripper to help foot the bill of her tuition. Notwithstanding her struggles with substance abuse and alcoholism, she graduated from college with a bachelor's degree in 1988 and afterward worked as a writer for engineering and business publications. She was later employed as a writer for Screw magazine.
On July 16, 1996, Walsh left her apartment complex in Nutley, New Jersey, which she shared with her son; her estranged husband, Mark, lived below them. Walsh had left to run errands and make a telephone call at a payphone across the street, leaving her son for the time being in the care of his father. It was the last time that Walsh was seen. At the time of her disappearance, she had been enrolled in a Master's program in English at New York University, which she had halfway completed, whilst supporting herself and her son by working as a freelance journalist and in various jobs as a stripper. At the time of her disappearance, her friends had become worried that she had relapsed into her drug addiction, after having maintained eleven years of sobriety.
Police were able to eliminate Walsh's ex-husband as a suspect in her vanishing. It was noted later that the page for the entire month of July 1996 was missing from Walsh's calendar in her apartment. Although police had few clues to follow up on in their investigation, rumors circulated that Walsh's disappearance might have been connected to the investigative journalism she had been doing at the time.
Walsh had penned an in-depth report published in The Village Voice about a strip club ring in which members of the Russian mafia were allegedly forcing young girls into the sex industry. Following this article, Walsh had also explored an underground vampire community in New York City, but the newspaper did not run the story as it felt Walsh's writing on the matter was not objective. Ultimately, police were unable to establish any connections between Walsh's disappearance and her work on either article. Walsh established a friendship with journalist James Ridgeway during her time writing for the Voice, with Ridgeway referring to her as his "most reliable" writer.
At the time, Walsh had also participated in a documentary produced by her friend, Jill Morley, titled Stripped, which detailed women working in the sex industry. Walsh was recorded in a group interview for the film on July 14, 1996, two days before her disappearance, during which she made a reference to having a "stalker." She had also hired herself out to a German documentary crew making a film about Russian immigrants becoming go-go dancers, and was also in the midst of developing a documentary on the subject with the BBC shortly before her disappearance. Walsh's last work was her contributions to the book Red Light: Inside the Sex Industry by Ridgeway and Sylvia Plachy; Walsh served as the primary researcher for the book and also contributed photographs and personal writings within a month before her disappearance.
In a 2006 article in The New York Post, it was noted that Walsh had confided to a former boyfriend that another of her ex-boyfriends had been stalking her; additionally, the article stated that her husband, Mark, had refused to allow police to perform forensic testing of their home.
- Known bibliography
- Screw Magazine
- The Village Voice (2 articles)
- Red Light: Inside the Sex Industry by James Ridgeway; Sylvia Plachy (primary researcher, contributor) ISBN 978-1576870006
- Stripped (1996) as herself
- Disappeared. "Dancing into Darkness". Investigation Discovery Network. September 8, 2012.
- "Susan Walsh". The Charley Project. Archived from the original on March 21, 2015. Retrieved June 21, 2014.
- "The Doe Network: Case File 1578DFNJ". doenetwork.org. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
- "Three Women and the Sex Industry". This American Life. February 28, 1997. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
- Kays, John (April 10, 2010). "The Disturbing Case of Susan Walsh: Vampires, Russian Mobsters and Sex Slaves!". News Blaze. Retrieved June 21, 2014.
- Kevlin 2007, pp. 55–56.
- Sullivan, Alfred (1998). "Susan Walsh Story". Alfredsullivan.com. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
- Hamilton, Brad (July 16, 1996). "'96 STRIPPER VANISH CLUE". The New York Post. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
- Weed, Alexis; Nancy Grace (December 7, 2009). "Woman vanishes and so does a page from her calendar". CNN. Retrieved June 20, 2014.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Grollmus, Denise (December 16, 2009). "Were "Vampires" Behind Susan Walsh's 1996 Disappearance? Or the Russian Mob?". True Crime Report. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
- "Stripped (2001)". IMDb. Retrieved June 21, 2014.
- Beckett, Andy (September 1, 1996). "MISSING, PRESUMED UNDEAD". The Independent. Retrieved June 21, 2014.