Nearly 50 Years After Her Death, A Murdered Teen Is Linked To A Serial Killer Cop
A Florida family finally has closure after authorities identified a body recovered in 1974 as 15-year-old Susan Poole.
Nearly 50 years after the skeleton of a teenage girl was found tied to a mangrove tree, authorities finally know who she is and who killed her.
Genetic genealogy testing that began in 2021 identified the body as Susan Poole, a 15-year-old who was reported missing just before Christmas in 1972 when she went missing from a Broward County, Florida trailer park.
A skeleton, now known to be Poole, was found in 1974 in Palm Beach County off Highway A1A, a scenic route along Florida’s Atlantic coast.
According to reports, her remains were bound to a mangrove tree with a wire. Due to limited forensic technology, authorities had no way to identify her body, and the case grew cold.
The Suspected Serial Killer
At the time of Poole’s disappearance, a yet-unknown serial killer was terrorizing the area. Gerard Schaefer worked as a police officer for a small department, but his short tenure as an officer came to a screeching halt when he kidnapped two hitchhiking teen girls in July 1972. He tied the girls to trees along Highway A1A and said he would be back later, but the pair managed to escape.
Schaefer immediately lost his job and was arrested for kidnapping. While he was on bond and awaiting trial, he reportedly kidnapped and then killed two different teen girls. The teens’ disfigured bodies were discovered in April 1973. As authorities investigated that case, they searched Schaefer’s home and found evidence that linked him to other murders in the area. Schaefer was found guilty of murdering the teens discovered in 1973 and was sentenced to life in prison. According to Murderpedia, he was killed by another inmate in the mid 90s over a dispute about a cup of hot water.
Connecting The Dots
According to CBS News, Palm Beach detective William Springer noted the similarities between Poole’s case and other murder scenes attributed to Schaefer. The detective believes it is very likely she met her end at the hands of Schaefer because she fit his profile and was found in the same fashion as his other victims.
According to WPBF, Springer doesn’t have the physical evidence to say for certain that Shaefer killed Poole, but he believes she was likely hitchhiking and got into his car.
Springer wants to speak with three of Poole’s friends from the time of her disappearance. He believes those friends may be able to answer some questions that could bring answers to Poole’s mother, who is now in her 90s.
Anyone with information on Poole’s activities or her possible connection to Schaefer can reach out to Springer at 561-688-4013. Callers can also remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS.