The remains of a teenager discovered in tied to mangroves in Palm Beach County, Florida, in 1974 have been identified nearly 50 years later as belonging to a 15-year-old girl who is now believed to be linked to a serial killer named Gerard Schaefer, police have said.
Detectives investigating the circumstances of 15-year-old Susan Poole’s 1970s murder have so far received no tips regarding the case or leading them to the three people whom they believe could provide useful information, a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson told Fox News Digital. Investigators have, however, heard from an author who is familiar with the case and has offered to share any notes that the department might find useful.
Susan Poole's family reported her missing just before Christmas in 1972, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Detective William Springer told reporters last week. Her remains were discovered in June 1974, "tied up in the mangroves with wire to a tree" in a remote area, Springer said.
But the remains were not linked to Poole until decades later and with the help of advanced DNA matching technology.
"She was skeletal remains, totally nothing left of her except bones," Springer said. "Her clothing was pretty well deteriorated. Okay. And there was no physical evidence or trauma to the body."
Poole had dropped out of school and had been splitting time between living with her family in a trailer park and with a friend in a nearby apartment when, according to people who knew her, "she just disappeared," Springer said.
"Nobody knew where she went. Her clothes, pocket book were still at an apartment that she was staying."
Springer said Schaefer was a law enforcement officer in the Wilton Manors area and with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office at the time of Poole’s disappearance. Schaefer, who was ultimately convicted for murder, had a history of tying his victims to the mangroves, and was also known to have targeted hitchhikers, Springer said. Poole’s friends reported that she hitchhiked in the area where Schaefer was known to frequent.
Schaefer was stabbed to death in 1995 by a fellow inmate at Florida State Prison, where he was serving a life sentence for murdering two teenage girls, 16 and 17.
Springer said he hopes to speak with any of Poole’s friends from the time, especially Julie Hunt, Michelle Williamson and Greg Anderson.
"What I'm trying to do is piece together her last weeks," Springer said. "I need to find out what her activities were. If she had any additional friends, anybody in particular she was seeing. I'm just trying to piece together her last, last days."