Susan Smith, one of the most notorious prisoners in South Carolina's penal system following her highly-publicized conviction for drowning her two young sons in 1994, has been sending romantic letters to her boyfriend from the prison where she is serving a life sentence.
Smith, 50, has started a long-distance relationship she hopes will continue if she's released on parole in November 2024, a family member told People.
The man was described as in his 40s and lives just outside the state capital of Columbia. He works in home construction, has two adult children and is divorced, the report said.
He apparently wrote to Smith after seeing a documentary about her.
"They write letters all the time," the family member told the magazine. "They started about a year ago. Handwritten letters about what their future will be. She's very romantic like that, always wanting to find a happily ever after."
In one letter obtained by the news outlet, Smith wrote that "I hope I get to see you f2f [face to face] soon" In a second correspondence, she wrote "I can't believe I can fall for someone I've never met."
The letters come decades after Smith became one of the most hated women in the country after it was revealed she drowned her sons, Michael, 3, and Alex, 4, by leaving them strapped in their car seats as she let the vehicle roll into a lake.
In October 1994, she told authorities she had been carjacked by a Black man who had taken the two boys while they were still in the vehicle. Over nine days, she and her then-husband, David Smith, tearfully pleaded on national television for the boys' return.
"Your mama loves you so much," she said during one news conference.
The story captivated the nation and subsequently horrified many after Smith's arrest. She was ultimately convicted of two murder counts and sentenced to life in prison. Investigators said Smith's motive stemmed from a secret relationship she was having with a man who didn't want children.
In a 2015 letter to The State newspaper, she claimed she was misunderstood and that she intended to kill herself, not her sons.
"I am not the monster society thinks I am," she wrote. "I am far from it."
"Something went very wrong that night. I was not myself," she continued. "I was a good mother and I loved my boys. There was no motive as it was not even a planned event. I was not in my right mind."
Smith has been disciplined in prison over the years for several infractions, including drug possession and mutilation, according to prison records. In 2000, she was disciplined for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a prison guard, People reported. She is currently serving her sentence at the Leath Correctional Institution in Greenwood.
The unnamed family member who spoke to People said Smith should not be paroled when her hearing comes in 2024.
"I don't have a problem with her finding happiness by writing a man," the source said, "but let's not forget what she did. So I hope her 'happily ever after' is happily in jail."