Albany, NY

25 years ago, a 19-year-old college student told her co-worker a disturbing story. She hasn't been seen since.

Fatim Hemraj

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Suzanne LyallPhoto byWNAC

Suzanne “Suzy” Lyall grew up in New York as the youngest of three siblings. She graduated high school with honors and studied computer science at the State University of New York [SUNY] in Albany. In her spare time, the 19-year-old loved to sew, write poetry, and build computers.

Suzy worked two jobs, one at a computer company and the other at Babbage’s, now known as GameStop, at Crossgates mall in Westmere.

Suzy had been dating Richard Condon, her boyfriend of two years, since high school. He went to a different college and lived with his parents 12 minutes away. He later created a website dedicated to her disappearance.

On March 1, 1998, Suzy called her mom, Mary, and wished her a happy birthday. Suzy complained that she was running low on money but refused Mary’s offer to give her some, stating she would wait for her next paycheck.

On March 2nd, Suzy took an exam and attended classes until 4 pm. She then took a bus to Babbage’s for a shift. Suzy got off work at 9 pm. She got on a bus back to campus and a friend saw her get off at Collins Circle, a bus loop just 900 feet from her dorm, at 9:25. Tragically, Suzy never made it home. She vanished without a trace one month before her 20th birthday.

Suzanne Lyall at her high school graduationPhoto byFacebook

On March 3rd, Richard contacted Suzy’s parents, Mary and Doug Lyall, and informed them that Suzy never made it home after work the previous evening. Richard claimed that Suzy always called or emailed him when she returned home from work, but that night, he didn’t hear from her. Richard said he called Suzy’s dorm several times but there was no answer.

The Lyalls contacted SUNY, however, school officials said it was common for college students to take off and insisted that Suzy would return to her dorm shortly. It wasn’t until after Suzy missed two days of classes that the school finally contacted Albany police and an investigation began.

Suzy’s debit card was used to withdraw $20 from an ATM at a Stewart’s Shops convenience store on March 3rd at 4 pm — a day after her disappearance. The person entered the correct PIN on the first try and Richard said that the only people who knew it were Suzy and himself. Unfortunately, the only camera in the store was facing the cashier and not the ATM. It’s unclear whether it was Suzy at the ATM, or someone else.

In May, someone found Suzy’s work tag from Babbage’s 90 feet away from the bus stop at Collins Circle where she was last seen 2 months earlier. It was sent to forensics for DNA testing but sadly, nothing was found.

Richard said he was playing video games with a friend when Suzy went missing and the friend confirmed his alibi. However, Richard quickly hired a lawyer, refused to take a polygraph test, and stopped cooperating with the investigation. Due to this, he has not been ruled out as a suspect.

The Lyalls claimed that Suzy had been trying to break up with Richard for months but he cried and begged her to stay with him each time. After she went missing, Richard told the Lyalls that Suzy was his fiancée — something she had never mentioned to them herself prior to her disappearance.

However, there was also another suspect, one who has never been identified. A month before she disappeared, Suzy told a co-worker at Babbage’s that she was being stalked by someone she didn’t know. It’s unclear whether this mystery person was involved in Suzy's sudden vanishing.

Mary and Doug Lyall dedicated the rest of their lives to making New York State safer for young college students. In 1999, they successfully lobbied for Suzanne’s Law which requires colleges and universities to report missing students to the state without delay. In 2001, the Lyalls founded the Center for Hope to aid families of missing persons. Doug passed away in 2015, however, Mary is still alive and she has hope that Suzy is too.

“When she walked in the room her face just lit up, she always had this big smile. I’m not saying that because she’s my daughter, that’s the way she was, she was a very happy person.”— Suzanne’s mother, Mary Lyall
An age-progression of Suzanne Lyall at 33Photo byNCMEC

25 years later, the search for Suzanne Lyall continues. She was last seen wearing a long black trench coat, a black t-shirt, and blue jeans. Today, she would be 44.

If you have any information, contact NY State Police at (518)-630-1708. A $25,000 reward is available.

Thank you for reading. For more, follow me on Ko-fi.

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