Where Is Susan Smith Today?

In 1995, Susan Smith was convicted of drowning her two young sons. What is her life like today?

October 25, 2018
By: Catherine Townsend

In October 1994, mother-of-two Susan Smith became a household name when she appeared on national television, tearfully pleading for the return of her two sons.

Smith claimed that a black man had carjacked her 1990 Mazda Protege with 3-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alexander inside.

Investigators launched a massive manhunt for the kidnapper and the boys.

But on November 3, 1994, Smith finally confessed that she purposely drowned the boys by letting the car roll into John D. Long Lake in Union County, South Carolina with the boys strapped into the backseat.

Her lie stunned the nation and caused outrage in the black community due to Smith’s claim that the abductor was African-American.

Smith was convicted of murdering her sons in 1995, and received a life sentence.

According to police, her motive was related to a secret affair she had been having with a wealthy local man, Tom Findley, who did not want children.

Police said that Smith received a letter from Findley breaking off the relationship, which triggered the killings.

Smith denied these claims and insisted that she was not in her right mind.

Smith's attorneys argued that she suffered from a long history of mental health issues that impaired her judgment.

In court they brought up her father’s suicide, her own suicide attempt at age 13, and her history of having been sexually molested by her stepfather.

After graduating from high school in 1989, Smith married her husband David Smith.

On the surface, they appeared to be the perfect family.

But the relationship was rocky: there were allegations of affairs on both sides, and the couple separated several times.

Authorities dragged the lake and found the car 120 feet from the shore, and the bodies of the boys inside.

Smith's defense psychiatrist diagnosed her with dependent personalty disorder and major depression.

According to prison records obtained by WYFF, Smith was disciplined several times for offenses including self-mutilation, use of narcotics, marijuana and unauthorized drugs.

Smith has had multiple jobs while incarcerated, including groundskeeper and landscaper.

And even behind bars, her love life continued to make headlines.

In 2002 Smith was disciplined for having sex four times with prison guard Houston Cagle, 50, who pleaded guilty and spent three months in prison.

The following year, a prison captain also admitted to having sex with Smith and was sentenced to five years probation.

In 2003, she placed a personal ad on WriteAPrisoner.com which was later retracted.

In 2013, the National Enquirer ran an interview with Smith’s former cellmate, who claimed that Smith paid her to watch for guards while Smith had sex with her girlfriend in prison closets and the cafeteria freezer.

Smith continues to deny that she planned to kill the boys.

“I had planned to kill myself first and leave a note behind telling what had happened,” Smith wrote in a 2015 letter to a reporter at The State newspaper.

“I didn’t believe I could face my family when the truth was revealed.”

She added: “I am not the monster society thinks I am. I am far from it.”

She is currently behind bars at Leath Correctional Institution near Greenwood, South Carolina.

According to the South Carolina Department of Corrections, she will be eligible for parole on November 4, 2024, after serving a minimum of 30 years.

Smith’s ex-husband David told Nancy Grace in 2013 that he is now happily married and has two children.

Read more: WYFF