Suzanne Gloria Lyall was born in Saratoga Springs, New York, on the 6th of April 1978. She was the youngest of three children, and was described as the “darling of the family.”
From an early age, Suzanne was interested in computers, even building her own at one point. So it was no surprise that after she finished High School, Suzanne went to the State University of New York at Oneonta to study computer science.
After a year, Suzanne felt that the computer science course at Oneonta was not challenging enough for her, so she decided to transfer to the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany. This was a decision that also pleased Suzanne’s parents, as she was now only 30 minutes away from her hometown of Ballston Spa.
It was March 2nd, 1998. That morning, Suzanne had taken a midterm at her university. She had been worried about it all weekend but was relieved when it wasn’t as hard as she thought it was going to be. She arrived at Babbage’s Computer Store for her afternoon shift, where she was scheduled to work until 9:00pm that evening.
Babbage’s Computer Store is located in Crossgates Mall, Guilderland, NY. After finishing her shift, Suzanne headed straight to the bus stop so she could get on a bus back to campus.
The bus driver recalls Suzanne entering the bus at 9:20pm from Crosswood Mall, but he doesn’t remember seeing her get off the bus. He only knows that when he made his last stop of the evening, Suzanne was not on board the bus.
One classmate said that she thought she saw Suzanne get off the bus at 9:45pm that evening at the Collins Circle bus stop, a stop that was just a short walk away from her dormitory. However, the classmate only knew Suzanne by sight and is not 100% certain that it was Suzanne who she saw.
The first person who noticed something was wrong was her boyfriend, Richard Condon. Richard and Suzanne had been dating since high school, and he thought it was strange that she didn’t message him over the computer that night. He put it down to her just being tired from school and work, but when he couldn’t get a hold of her the next morning – he knew something was wrong.
Richard called Suzanne’s roommates and was shocked to hear that Suzanne never returned home the night before. Richard immediately contacted Suzanne’s parents, who knew that as Suzanne was unaccounted for something was terribly wrong.
Doug and Mary Lyall, Suzanne’s parents, say that Suzanne was a creature of habit and that she would never change her routine of going to school and work. For her to have deviated from this schedule, and not be in contact with any of her family or friends, was extremely out of character.
Suzanne’s parents immediately contacted the SUNY police to report Suzanne missing. The SUNY police did not think that Suzanne was missing and instead told her parents that it was very common for college students to take short trips away without telling their parents and that she would likely be back in a few days.
Suzanne had been missing for almost 48 hours before the SUNY police decided to contact the New York State Police about the missing girl. For the New York State Police, this meant that time was already against them as the first 48-72 hours are the most critical in finding a missing person.
Investigators began interviewing Suzanne’s classmates and roommates, and it became clear that Suzanne was more interested in her computers than she was in making friends with people, as she had no close girlfriends.
It was through her love of computers that Richard and Suzanne actually met. Richard was the head of a local computer club in Ballston Springs, and after speaking to Suzanne through the internet a few times, he invited her to join the club. Suzanne’s parents were not on board with her meeting someone off the internet, so Suzanne’s father accompanied her to the coffee shop and remained there until the meeting had finished.
Richard was instantly attracted to Suzanne, although it took Suzanne a little longer to catch on. The pair soon began dating, and they attended lots of proms together, as well as spending most of their free time together as well.
Suzanne’s mother, Mary, believes that Richard was more into the relationship than Suzanne was. Mary noticed some tension between the couple, but Suzanne never told of any problems they were having. Suzanne had also tried to end things with Richard a few times, but he ended up convincing her to stay together.
Mary thought that Suzanne had started to date someone else, but no evidence of this was ever found. In addition to this, Suzanne’s busy schedule with work, school and talking to Richard and her family, meant that it was unlikely Suzanne even had the time to date anyone else.
Police conducted several interviews with Richard, and he had a strong alibi for the night she went missing and maintains that he knows nothing about what happened to her. There was no evidence that he had anything to do with her disappearance, and despite Mary’s concerns that Richard was controlling her, police found nothing to indicate Richard having abused Suzanne.
Throughout the investigation, Richard started to feel as though police were concentrating on him too much, so he eventually stopped cooperating with the police and got a lawyer.
The only piece of evidence, in this case, was found in May 1998, two months after Suzanne went missing.
A student who was walking through a parking lot on the Albany campus found Suzanne’s Babbage’s ID card. The ID card was in poor condition, looking like it had been left outside for a while. Unfortunately, this meant that police were unable to get fingerprints or DNA from the card to help look for a potential suspect.
In addition to this, Suzanne’s ID card was found in the opposite direction of where Suzanne would have walked from the bus stop to her dorm. Investigators are also unsure if the card had been in the parking lot since the night Suzanne went missing, or if it had been placed there at a later date.
Whilst Suzanne’s family were heartbroken by her disappearance, their frustration at the SUNY police for not reporting their daughter’s disappearance immediately led to new laws being passed that requires all campus police agencies to have specific plans in place to help the immediate disappearance of missing students.
As of 2021, Suzanne’s case is still open, and she remains a missing person.
Missing, Unsolved, USA, True Crime, Mystery, Investigation