Details of Disappearance
Susan was last seen at Thompson's IGA supermarket in her hometown of Newcomerstown, Ohio on March 16, 1982. She had just gotten off her shift at work there and was walking toward her parents' car in the parking lot when an older model blue car pulled up. A co-worker saw Susan speak to the driver, a man, then get in the passenger side of the car. She has never been heard from again.
A county grand jury's investigation records into Susan's case were misplaced sometime during the proceeding years. The documents have not been located. Susan's parents have never given up the search for her. They suspect that her ex-husband, Allen Cappel, who was employed with the Ohio Department of Transportation, was involved in her disappearance.
Allen died in a car accident in September 2003, twenty-one years after Susan's disappearance. He had always maintained his innocence in Susan's case and stated he believed she left town voluntarily. Susan and Allen were high school sweethearts who married in her senior year and had an eighteen-month-old son, Damin Cappel, in 1980. Susan left him behind when she vanished.
Allen and Susan were in the process of a divorce and fighting over custody of Damin when Susan went missing Allen was granted the divorce in 1983, a year after Susan vanished, and got custody of Damin. He remarried five months later.
Susan's parents stated at the time of her disappearance, Susan was hoping to get custody of Damin and was refurbishing her old room at her parents' home for that purpose. She had been hoping to spend March 17, the day after her disappearance, with Damin. The custody hearing was scheduled for three weeks after Susan went missing.
Allen had friends, Patrick "Rick" and his cousin Robert "Kelly" Parrish, whom Susan's parents suspect were involved in her disappearance. Rick owned an older model blue Plymouth Satellite similar to the car Susan was seen getting into the day of her disappearance. Two weeks after Susan's disappearance, Rick, Kelly, and another individual were killed inside that vehicle in a single-car crash.
Susan's parents speculate that Susan got into the car with them and they threatened Damin's life, so she agreed to disappear and drop her custody plea for him to keep him safe.
In 1983, a Greyhound bus driver believed he saw Susan. He said the woman had purchased a ticket from Reno, Nevada to Newcomerstown and the driver picked her up in Cleveland. The woman who resembled Susan carried only a satchel and asked to be let off at a filling station in Newcomerstown instead of the bus stop.
The driver refused and stopped the bus at the bus stop, where the woman got out and ran in the direction of the filling station. Rick Parrish worked at that filling station at the time of Susan's disappearance. The driver reported his sighting to police immediately, but an extensive search of the area turned up no signs of Susan.
Susan's case remains unsolved. The investigation into her disappearance was reopened in 2006. Foul play is suspected in her case.