Two Texas Teens Left After Curfew In 1988 And Never Returned
Police in Carrollton, Texas, initially thought Stacie Madison and Susan Smalley were runaways.
Two teens from Carrollton, Texas, should be adults making plans to attend their 35th high school reunion this year. Instead, they are the subject of a decades-old cold case with few answers.
On March 19, 1988, Stacie Madison, 17, was spending time with her best friend, 18-year-old Susan Smalley. The girls were seniors at Newman Smith High School in Carrollton, a suburb north of Dallas. Spring break was almost over, and the girls were planning a sleepover at Susan’s house, according to NBC News.
Stacie drove a 1967 Mustang convertible painted the colors of their high school, and she picked Susan up that night to stop in and pick Susan’s mother up from her job at a department store.
According to The Doe Project, the girls eventually went to see an apartment full of friends in Arlington, another Dallas-area suburb about 25 miles from Carrollton. The pair also stopped in at the restaurant where Susan worked as a waitress. Stacie stayed in the vehicle while Susan went inside around 11:30 p.m. Some accounts of the evening report that the girls attempted to purchase alcohol at a 7-11 store before they arrived at the restaurant.
The girls made their midnight curfew and called Stacie’s mom to check in from Susan’s house. It was the last time anybody heard from the girls. It was unknown when the two left again, but their family members began to worry on March 21 and reported the girls as missing. The next day, March 22, Stacie’s Mustang was found in the parking of Webb Chapel Village on Forest Lane in Dallas, Texas. Forest Lane was a cruising strip that was a popular hangout spot for teens in the area, according to Stacie’s sister, Stefanie. The girls’ personal belongings were inside the car, including a portable stereo.
In 2020, family members told NBC that police initially treated the disappearance as a case of runaways trying to extend spring break and that the delay had catastrophic consequences on law enforcement’s ability to investigate the case.
The case is the subject of a 2009 book, This Night Wounds Time: The Mysterious Disappearances of Stacie Madison and Susan Smalley, written by Shawn Sutherland, a fellow Newman Smith student who performed his own independent investigation into the case. While the book reportedly generated new leads, police are no closer to solving the mystery than they were in 1988.
If Stacie and Susan are still alive, they would be 52 and 53 years old. At the time they went missing, Stacie was 5’6” and weighed 160 pounds. Susan was 5’8 and weighed 140 pounds.
If you have any information about Stacie Madison or Susan Smalley, please contact the Carrollton Police Department at 214-466-3324.