Officials ID remains of 15-year-old girl found in 1974
Authorities believe she was a victim of a convicted serial killer
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (WPLG) - Authorities in Florida have identified the victim in a decades-old cold case murder.
The remains of a 15-year-old girl were discovered in Palm Beach County in 1974 but never identified.
Using DNA technology, investigators determined the remains as those of a Florida girl who went missing in 1972.
Susan Gale Poole had been labeled a missing person for 50 years.
“I knew something was wrong when I saw her purse on the couch of a friend of hers,” said her sister, Patti Poole.
She recently got the call from Palm Beach County detectives.
“My search is finally over,” Poole said.
Police believe Susan’s death was connected to 1970s serial killer Gerard Schaefer, a former sheriff’s deputy and a former police officer with the Wilton Manors Police Department.
“He lived in Broward County, in the area where Susan Poole lived,” Detective Bill Springer said.
Although Susan lived in a trailer park near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, her skeletal remains were found two years after she disappeared in an area with mangroves in Palm Beach County.
“She was tied up, appeared to be tied up in the mangroves with wire to a tree,” Springer said.
At the time there was no match to her DNA, so it was entered into the national base for unidentified persons.
New technology allowed the DNA to be re-tested and produce a match.
Although authorities believe Schaefer killed Susan, they don’t have any physical evidence linking him to the murder.
Schaefer was known to pick up girls who were hitchhiking, something that Susan would often do.
“The way she died, he was very cruel,” Poole said.
He was convicted for his crimes and killed in prison in 1996.
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