Details of Disappearance
Susan was last seen in Bentree, West Virginia on February 12, 1979. She left a note at home for her three children, telling them to go to a neighbor's residence if she wasn't home by the time they got back from school. A neighbor saw her get into a blue vehicle, either a truck with a camper top or a van, at 8:30 a.m. She has never been heard from again.
Before her disappearance, Susan had had serious problems in her life. She won custody of her children and child support following a bitter divorce, after she found out her husband, Raymond Roop, was having an affair with their teenage babysitter. She was injured in a car accident and her house had mysteriously burned down.
Her life had begun to look up, however. She and her children had moved into a new apartment and she was expecting to received $3,000 from the sale of some property in March. She had a new boyfriend who was away in the military and they wrote letters to each other almost every day.
After Susan's children returned from school to an empty house and read her note, they decided not to go to the neighbor's, as they believed their mother would be back soon.
She didn't take any extra clothes with her when she disappeared, and she left her purse with a signed money order from her boyfriend. Instead, their father came to pick them up and told them she had abandoned them. Raymond later said he stopped by the house to pay some back child support, as he had just gotten his income tax return.
When Susan did not return by February 14, her father reported her missing. Raymond stated he last saw her on February 10, two days before her disappearance, when he picked up their son for the weekend.
Her family gave the police some letters Susan had written to her boyfriend; in the letters, she said Raymond was three months behind in child support and she planned to take legal action, but that she was very afraid of him. She also said someone had forged two checks on her bank account, that she knew who had done it and that she planned to confront the person.
After his divorce from Susan, Raymond had married Christina Hudnell, the babysitter he'd been unfaithful with. They later divorced. In 2017, Hudnell said that in 1980, Raymond had told her he'd killed Susan. She stated he told her he left home that day in their vehicle, but then got into someone else's car, and he was driving that car when he killed Susan.
Raymond repeatedly got into serious trouble with the law in the years following Susan's disappearance, including getting a conviction for second-degree murder. He has never been charged in Susan's case, however. Susan's family had her declared legally dead nine years after her disappearance.
In 2016, human remains were found buried under a cliff in the Kanawha Falls, West Virginia area. Authorities believed the bones could be Susan's, but it turned out they were from three different individuals and may have been hundreds of years old. Susan's case remains unsolved.