Susan Smith: A Tale of Murder, Abuse and Promiscuity – Part Three

With Susan confessing to murdering her two boys, the country, in shock, could only ask, why?

The Story Grows Across The Nation

As the investigation continued into day 3, Sheriff Wells went on the Today Show and Larry King Live. Wells told Larry that they have been overwhelmed with thousands of calls and tips from the public with none of them leading to any leads and how the divers found nothing at the bottom of the lake.

You are probably wonder how they managed to search the lake the car was in to find nothing. I was wondering the same. If they had found the car, in that search, it would have changed the trajectory of the whole investigation.

Since they couldn’t find it, Susan was able to remain a victim and milk her story a little longer.

Why they weren’t initially able to find the car in the lake was because there was an assumption that anyone who would drive into the lake would be going at full speed. It is easier to envision a driver flying at full speed would go a lot further than a car that simply rolled off the boat ramp.

Thinking the driver flew into the lake would mean the car would drop and sink to the edge of the body of water, this is where the divers were looking. However because the car rolled slowly into the lake, it drifted with the current nearly 100 feet into the lake, remaining submerged and undisturbed while the divers fruitlessly searched the perimeters.

On the morning of October 28th, volunteer firemen, SLED agents and deputies from the Union Sheriff department took the time to search the north and south sides of Highway 49 by John D. Long Lake. Again, they found nothing. Later that day Sheriff Wells held a press conference reporting that they were no closer to finding a kidnapper, car jacker, or the children than they were before.

There had been no solid leads or clues but that they have not ruled out the parents as potential suspects. They also put Susan on blast by reporting they had found some inconsistencies in Susan’s story, but didn’t go into detail given it was obviously so fresh. Wells would finish the conference with:

“ We do not have a car, we do not have the children, we do not have the suspect.”

A couple of days later on October 29th, the Union Daily Times decided to put out a story on Susan’s murky story. Some of these discrepancies were how Susan’s friend Mitchell was in no way expecting Susan to visit the night of the carjacking, that none of the employees at Wal-Mart noticed the boys or Susan shopping that evening, and lastly that Susan told the police she was driving around for hours before the carjacking.

May people were starting to feel off about this whole thing. Something was starting to feel really wrong especially given that Susan was reluctant to speak in public to raise awareness that her children were missing.

This led everyone, not just police, to speculate maybe Susan did know what happened or was directly involved somehow.

Another discrepancy around the kidnapping was how Susan claimed it was an African American man who took her kids. Many from this community found this really difficult to believe. They felt it wasn’t likely an African American man would go unnoticed with two white children in the back seat, especially given the intensity of the investigation.

Many felt this story just wasn’t plausible and considering they still found no car and no suspect, many were beginning to feel that it was likely this man didn’t exist. If that were the case, what actually happened then?

Police Begin Pursuing Susan

By day 6 of the disappearance, Sheriff Wells, the Chief of SLED, Agent David Caldwell and the numerous FBI agents working on this case believed Susan was lying about her involvement with her children. They weren’t sure exactly what happened, but at this point they knew she KNEW something. They now all were on a mission to find evidence that Susan Smith was involved in the disappearance of her children.

How could the children and Susan’s car just disappear without a trace?

Where was this damn car?

At this point, they needed a confession, they needed Susan to crack. They further pursued Susan by planning out meticulous interrogations of Susan that are designed to bring forth a confession. Their behavior and words were all carefully laid out and scripted and choreographed.

They were putting on theater for Susan and setting the stage for a confession, nothing was improvised, everything was planned out.

Like many investigators, they will use tactics to make you believe they are your friend, that they get you and understand you. They get you to a point to where they want you to trust them, so you can let your guard down and spill, essentially, master manipulators to coax her into a confession.

They didn’t want to press too hard though knowing Susan’s mental state was hanging in the balance and had two previous suicide attempts under her belt. They did not want to push her to do something that would prevent them from ever solving this case, they needed Susan alive.

Agent Caldwell interviewed Susan and studied her behavior. During which we wrote a profile on her. Caldwell describes Susan as a cunning woman with a strong will to succeed. He also received the break up letter that Tom wrote to Susan by Tom. There was a good chance Tom also felt something was off about this case and was probably suspicious of her too, in which he provided his piece to the police to aid in the effort.

With this information, along with the interviews and behavioral studies of Susan, they concocted a motive: Greed and ambition had pushed Susan to rid herself of the burdens of her children and murdered them.

The Glorious Confession

On the ninth day since Susan claimed a kidnapper took her children and her car, David and Susan had an interview set up on a few different morning news programs. They would conduct the interviews at her mom’s house where they have been staying. On CBS This Morning, they were asked if they had any involvement with the disappearance of their children. Susan answered:

“I did not have anything to do with the abduction of my children. Whoever did this is a sick and emotionally unstable person.”

David was asked if he believes Susan which he replied:

“Yes, I believe my wife totally.”

That afternoon, Susan was taken in for an interrogation. After 9 days of defending her lie to the country, Susan was starting to get burnt out by these intensive interrogations and the public beginning to become more skeptical of her story. Sheriff Wells was hungry and ready to get a confession.

Wells confronted her about her whole story and how he knew the carjacker/kidnapping was a lie. He informed her that there was no way there was a red light at the Monarch intersection if there were no other cars around like she said.

He told her they were noticing inconsistencies in her stories, snowballing into more lies as she tried to cover up those discrepancies. He then told Susan he would have to tell the media that her story about the African American carjacker was fabricated and that her accusation has caused tension within their community.

Realizing the web of lies she was weaving was falling apart, Susan’s resolve broke when she asked Wells to pray for her:

“Lord, we know that all things will be revealed to us in time. Susan, it is time.”

Susan started bursting and asked Sheriff Wells for his gun so she can kill herself. When Wells asked why she wanted to do that, Susan replied:

“I am so ashamed, I am so ashamed. You don’t understand, my children are not all right.”

Susan Smith had cracked.

It is after this Susan would spill everything to Sheriff Wells. She would describe to him the darkness and immense isolation she felt that night and was having another suicidal episode. Susan explained she had felt her whole life was fucked from the beginning and has always felt unsafe and wrong. Her life was a pit of loneliness and failure.

She would retell her story of her abortion and the affair she had leading to that abortion. She explained to him the complicated and toxic nature of her marriage and her relationship with Tom Findlay. That is when, investigators came into the room to receive her written confession:

Once Susan completed her confession, she told the investigators how much she loved her kids and that she didn’t want it to turn out this way. Susan said after the car was in the lake she wanted to take it all back but she couldn’t. She immediately regretted her actions but the damage was done.

At this point, is when she improvised and planned her alibi as she ran toward the nearest home.

Like anyone can imagine, Susan said that keeping this secret for nearly 10 days putting on this show while knowing her kids where dead was eating away at her. The guilt was consuming her and she felt there was no turning back.

She said she was scared and even said she knew if her story came out she could never live it down. She was right. Sheriff Wells would be tasked with the difficult duty of breaking the tragic news to David and their families.

However he didn’t want to do this until he was able to confirm Susan’s story and find Michael and Alex.

Michael and Alex are Recovered

SLED agents went for the third time to John D. Long Lake to search for Susan’s car, now, with the exact location of the vehicle. Six minutes into their dive, the diver was able to identify and locate the bottom side of an upside down Mazda. With the water so murky, he wasn’t able to see into the car.

The Mazda was submerged 18-feet into the water. Two divers would go back down with brighter diving lights to perform a slow search around the vehicle. One of the divers were quoted saying:

“I saw a small hand pressed against the window glass. We had to be down on the bottom of the lake to see inside the car…they were in car seats hanging upside down. I was able to determine one occupant on either side of the vehicle.”

After the boys were found, Wells headed straight toward the Russell home to inform everyone that Michael and Alex were found. Sheriff Wells would describe to them elements of Susan’s confession. He informed them that Susan was arrested and charged with two counts of murder and would be scheduled a bail hearing the following day.

The truth, after 9 long days, was finally out.

As predicted, once the news of her confession and arrest became public, she quickly was the center of the countries hatred. Shouts of “baby killer” and “Murderer” were screamed at Susan while she was escorted to a waiting car to be driven to the York County Jail.

Not only did she murder her children, she lied, gaslighted, manipulated and took the whole town of Union with her on this bullshit ride.

A part of me feels that, since she immediately regretted her decision, if she had just confessed and turned herself in right off the bat, if she would have been subjected to less scrutiny. Of course, she would receive the basic level of scrutiny any parent would face in killing their child, but her actions after the murders, in a way, only made it bleed out longer, leaving more damage in her trail.

It would take 45 minutes for Susan’s Mazda to be fully pulled out from the lake. Once they had the car in shallow enough water, they flipped the car right side up. Their, they could see the bodies of Michael and Alex in their car seats.

Their bodies were placed in an ambulance and taken to the University of South Carolina Medical Center in Charleston. After autopsies were performed, it was confirmed the boys were alive went sent into the lake and subsequently drowned after the car submerged.

Truly horrific and atrocious last minutes on Earth for anyone, let alone children who cant get out or understand what was happening.

Utterly soul crushing to think about.

That evening, Susan wrote David a letter expressing how sorry she was. David, just completely shook, didn’t even know who the woman he married was and had the same thoughts after he read her confession. To be fair, Susan was never a nice, kind or honest adult.

They met each other as cheaters, David cheating on his fiancé and Susan her other Winn-Dixie boyfriend. I can imagine you wont be meeting stand up kind of people that way. He always knew what kind of person she was, to be honest, I couldn’t imagine her story ending in any other way based off her behavior.

She was a liar, cheater, manipulator, man obsessed with narcissistic behavior with no love or empathy for herself or others. She was never any prize.

Alex and Michael’s funeral would be held on Sunday, November 6th at Buffalo Methodist church. the caskets were closed due the water damage and accelerated decomposition from being submerged for so long.

The boys were buried together in a white casket with gold trim during a private ceremony, next to the grave of Danny Smith, David’s older brother and the boy’s uncle who they never got a chance to meet in this life, but hopefully the next.

The nation mourned the loss of these two beautiful boys and were plagued with questions on how this could have happened?

Why?

Why would a mother do this to her children?

Why did she do it in that way?

How could she let them drown in a car, stuck and alive?

How could she choose a man over her kids?

Why didn’t she just turn herself in right away if she regretted it immediately?

Why did she lead everyone on a nonsensical goose chase and lie?

How This Could Have Been Avoided

Unfortunately, in Susan’s earlier life, there wasn’t much she had control over. She was at the mercy of her toxic mother and abusive stepfather. The only thing Susan had control over was herself. Aside from her home life, Susan did well. She was intelligent, extremely involved in her community, volunteered, was a member of numerous clubs and did excellent in school.

What is tragic is she would have been an attractive candidate for college at this point.

If she had stayed focused on her studies, clubs, extracurricular activities and kept her head down at Winn-Dixie and just worked, instead of sleeping with every male co-worker that worked there, earning money and saving it for herself, she could have built a wonderful life for. She was young, only 19 when she was pregnant with Michael. She had her whole life ahead of her.

Due to her internal turmoil from her abusive home life where she was never protected like a child should be, she never received the help she desperately needed.

Instead she indulged in a life of risky behavior and promiscuity. Rather than working on building her life, she was wounded, insecure and desperate for male attention to feel good about herself.

This led her to sleep with multiple men, sometimes married, at the same time. Getting pregnant by accident because of it multiple times. There is good reason for women to protect themselves and their bodies by honoring it and sharing your sacred body with only those who honor you as much as you do.

She didn’t love or honor herself if she was so willing to sleep with many men at once, putting her body at risk of unplanned pregnancy and STDs, then going through an abortion due to an unwanted pregnancy which is traumatic no matter what. All of it could have been avoided with better decision making.

So many of Susan’s woes were due to Susan’s poor and impulsive decision making. She made the wrong choice so many times and didn’t parent herself or love herself in the way she desperately needed. Her parents didn’t show her how to so she didn’t know how. She had to learn that herself but she never did.

Her soul began to rot with her trauma and pain that she carried with her from her past that she never addressed. She projected her hurt onto the world and committed the most atrocious crime one can commit, the murder of a child.

Only someone extremely broken, poisoned and rotten person can be capable of such a crime. Happy, healthy and balanced parents don’t murder their kids.

My Letter To 19-Year-Old Susan

Susan had so many opportunities to recover and make a better life for herself. It didn’t have to happen this way. I desperately wish I could go back in time before it all happened and say:

“ Susan, I am so sorry. I am so sorry, you have been hurting. I am so sorry you were sexually abused. I am so sorry you were forced to live with your abuser. I am so sorry your mother is a selfish, toxic and controlling woman who wasn’t there for you when you needed a mother the most. She was not a good mother to you but you can be a better one, you can break the cycle.”
“I am so sorry your father took his own life when you were just a teenager. He was the only person you felt close too and he chose to leave you here on this Earth to navigate it on your own.”
” I’m sorry you feel so sad and insecure you need the validation of men to feel you have worth. I’m so sorry you don’t recognized your intellect as an asset to propel you into a better future but it can! It isn’t too late. “
” Focus on yourself. You don’t need a man, you can do this on your own. You have great grades and accolades, you have a job, just focus on that and save money. Go to community college and work toward moving on to a University. “
” You are so young and have so much time to figure out what you want to do for your life, you don’t need to have it all figured out now. You don’t have to settle for this life. You have been dealt a life many don’t understand and are lucky to never experience, but it doesn’t have to end in tragedy. “
” I know it seems helpless and like the only way you can be happy is if you have a man, but it’s not true. Honor and protect yourself. Stop sleeping with men, focus on work and school, save enough money and move out from the home of your abuser and toxic mother and build a wonderful life yourself. “

I wish someone had intercepted her at some point before she met David to deliver this message. This didn’t have to happen. All it takes is one person to step up to be the voice of reason and encouragement, something she never had her whole life.

Susan in Prison 2012

That is the story of Susan Smith, the infamous mother who took the lives of her two sons Michael and Alex and shook this country to the core. She will remain in prison till 2024 when she is up for parole, 30 years of time being served. Time sure does fly. She will be 53 once she is up for parole. We just have to wait and see what happens.

As far as what actually happened that tragic day, only Susan knows and only she can tell us what exactly happened and why she did it. The rest of us will never know.

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