Nothing tears at our hearts like a story of stolen children, but something was not quite right with the tale a hysterical young woman told police over the phone on October 24, 1994.
The woman - who identified herself as twenty-three-year old Susan Smith - claimed she had stopped for a red light in downtown Union, South Carolina, when an armed black man approached the car and demanded she get out. When she did, Susan claimed the man had threatened her and then sped off in her car. Her two sons Michael (3) and Alexander (14 months) were asleep in their car seats during the entire incident.
Police were quick to respond to the case of Susan’s missing children, but soon there was reason to suspect the mousy housewife was not telling the truth; during interviews Susan would accidentally refer to her sons in the past tense (as if she knew they were already dead), did not appear to cry, and gave a very vague and disordered description of the man who hijacked the car.
Over nine days, Susan gave a series of very emotional television appearances where she pleaded to the ‘hijacker’ to return her sons safely. It was after her latest one on November 3, 1994, that police confronted Susan with the inconsistencies in her story, namely the fact she claimed she had stopped the car for a red light on the night of the hijacking. This was later proven to have been impossible, as the red light on that particular intersection only goes red if another car was approaching from the opposite direction - which wasn’t the case, as Susan had been very adamant that nobody had been on the street that night.
After repeated questioning, Susan Smith confessed to murdering her two sons. She told the police that she drove to a nearby lake intending to drown herself and her two children. After parking at the edge of the water and disengaging the brake, Susan claimed to have had a change of heart and got out of the car at the last second. Her two boys, trapped in their car seats, drowned as the car drifted out and filled with water. A search of the lake soon revealed Susan’s car resting on the bottom of the lake, with the bodies of her two children still inside. After her arrest a psychiatrist diagnosed her as a depressive personality, and that she killed her children during a psychotic episode. It later came out that Susan was having an affair with a married man before her sons deaths, and he told her they could not be together due to her sons, which caused Susan to snap.
Susan Smith was charged with two counts of murder and found guilty in October 1995. She was sentenced to life in prison and must serve thirty years before she is released.
Floating Flat Rate by Carlton Holls Via Flickr: A Chicago Water Taxi, bound for Chinatown, cuts down the South Branch of the Chicago River on a recent Autumn afternoon. Two different companies operate seasonal water taxi service in Chicago, which is used by both locals and tourists. Uber hasn’t yet gotten into this branch of ride sharing :)