Susan Anne Swedell

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3 AP
Top Row and Bottom Left: Swedell, circa 1988;
Bottom Right: Age-progression to age 48 (circa 2016)


Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: January 19, 1988 from Lake Elmo, Minnesota
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date Of Birth: February 13, 1968
  • Age: 19 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'4, 100 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Sandy brown hair, hazel eyes. Swedell's ears are pierced. Her nickname is Sue. She has had extensive dental work.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A short skirt, a black down jacket and earrings.
  • Bar

    Details of Disappearance

    Swedell was employed at the K-Mart retail store in Oak Park Heights, Minnesota in 1988. She phoned her family members from work at 4:00 p.m. on January 19, 1988. Swedell said that she planned to go straight home after her shift ended to watch a movie. She changed into a short skirt before she departed from work, which was considered odd due to the snowy conditions at the time.

    Swedell's vehicle overheated during her drive to her residence. She stopped at a gasoline station at the corner of Manning Avenue north and Highway 5, approximately one mile from her home in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. The attendant allowed Swedell to park her car at the establishment. The employee told authorities that she entered a vehicle driven by an unidentified male shortly afterwards. The man appeared to have been waiting for Swedell near the station. He is described as having shoulder-length curly hair and a well-built physique. The witness said that the man was tall and was unshaven. The individual was wearing a leather jacket at the time Swedell entered his car. She never returned home and has not been heard from again.

    When authorities searched Swedell's car, they found her driver's license inside it. Swedell's mother drove the vehicle to a repair shop. Mechanics discovered the petcock on the radiator had been loosened, and the car had no water in it, which explains why it overheated. Investigator theorized someone loosened the petcock deliberately and followed Swedell's car, waiting for it to malfunction so they could offer her a ride.

    Swedell's mother believes her daughter came back to their apartment a few days after her disappearance. She stated there was an odor of cigarette smoke in the residence and dirty dishes in the sink. The red pantsuit Swedell had been wearing on the day of her disappearance, before she changed into her skirt, was found balled up on her bed. There was no sign of Swedell herself at the home, however, and it is unclear whether she was ever actually there.

    Swedell attended the University of Wisconsin at River Falls for a semester after she graduated Stillwater High School, but she decided she was not ready to live away from home and returned to live with her mother and younger sister. She worked two jobs at the time of her disappearance, and was active at Christ Lutheran Church. Her loved ones reported that she had been receiving telephone calls at work from a man named Dale in 1988. It is not known if the person is connected to her disappearance.

    Authorities detected activity on Swedell's Social Security number in 2006, but it turned out to be a case of identity theft. Foul play is suspected in Swedell's case.


    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Washington County Sherriff's Office



    Source Information
    Missing Children Minnesota
    The St. Paul Pioneer Press
    Minnesota Department Of Public Safety
    Washington County Sheriff's Office
    The Doe Network
    The Lake Elmo Leader
    The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
    The Stillwater Gazette


    Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated January 12, 2017; age-progression added, clothing/jewelry description updated.

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