Susie was in charge of our household for almost four years. During so much time, one may not realize how much personal information you willingly and unwittingly share. If we didn’t knowingly share, she would ask questions like a journalist: who, what, where, when and sometimes, how much? Susie knew who our best friends are, what time we ate our meals, where we shopped, when bed sheets were changed, music we enjoyed (she liked the old-time western tunes), the kind of toothbrushes we used, our selection of clothing, the brand of coffee we drink—all intimate details one does not completely share with others. She knew more about our personal and social lives than anyone on the planet.
She brought flowers when she discovered either one of us was ill and then telephoned later to check up on our progress in getting better. Suzy knew our favorite sports teams and favorite players. She would get excited about the Bronco’s draft and take time from her housecleaning to share the ecstatic shouts and cheers, sitting down to catch glimpses of player interviews and games on T.V.
Susie would comb her hair and put on makeup in her car parked in front of our house (she said she wanted to look pretty before she saw us) before bouncing through our front door to go to work, almost passionately. We looked forward to her visits knowing that when she left our house, it would sparkle. Sometimes during her visits, she would positively comment on the furniture and even the art and paint on the walls. She enjoyed re-arranging our knick-knacks according to her sensibilities.
Sometimes Susie was stressed: she had episodes with her son and other family members that stressed her; she had health issues and believed her vegan diet would cure her ailments. Recently Susie was bubbling about her trip to Denver on the back of her son-in-law’s motorcycle to visit a gourmet vegan restaurant. She was committed to a new vegan diet and aware of local eateries that served appealing vegan foods.
Our girl Susie loved animals. She rescued four dogs and three cats with special needs from the local humane society and used her savings to care for the pets. They took up a lot of room in her mobile home. She told us that she had to clean and paint the floors after she finally was able to housebreak the animals.
Susie was scheduled to work at our house on Thursday, August 2, but never arrived nor did she telephone to let us know she would be late. It was an out-of-the-ordinary situation because Susie was always on time and never late without first calling. I telephoned her cell phone number and received a message, “the person you are calling is not available.” Twice more I called that day and the next morning and received the same message.
My husband and I were concerned Susie may be in the hospital and did not have her contact list handy to get in touch with us. We decided we would go to her home and stick a note on her door, “Susie call us.” Instead, I looked at a job application she completed before she began working to locate a phone number and reference name of someone who possibly would know where she was.
I found and called the reference number and identified myself to the person answering the phone. I asked, “Do you know where Susie is?”
After a few seconds of silence the person on the end of the line responded, “Yes, she was murdered.” My heart stood still and I hung up. I checked the local newspaper on line and there was the headline: “Neighbors often saw ‘person of interest’ sought in suspicious death near Longmont.”
Numbness and shallow breathing set in like being outside in the dead of winter with temperatures below zero.