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Thread: Susan Robin Bender (15) Disappeared From Modesto In 1986 & Police Are Reopening Her Case

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    Susan Robin Bender (15) Disappeared From Modesto In 1986 & Police Are Reopening Her Case

    Modesto Police Department reopens cold case of teen girl who went missing 35 years ago
    Updated October 08, 2021 4:55 AM


    The Modesto Police Department is reopening an investigation into the cold case of a Modesto teen who disappeared 35 years ago.

    Susan Robin Bender, 15, was last seen in public on the afternoon of April 25, 1986, at the Greyhound bus depot in Modesto. She happened to run into a friend and told the girl she was headed to visit friends in Carmel.

    Instead of getting on a bus, Bender called someone on a depot phone and got into a green van that pulled up about 10 minutes later, the friend told investigators at the time.

    Bender?s friend couldn?t tell who was driving.

    After that, the only reported sighting of Bender was when her mother called police in August 1986 and said she stopped home for about five hours, the Modesto Bee previously reported.

    The case went cold over the years, but Detective Josh Grant said the department decided to reopen the investigation again after a routine review of old files.

    No new leads in particular prompted the decision, but Grant said the review showed some general ?avenues of opportunity? to explore.

    The detective said he hopes the case can be solved through advances in technology and the possibility that people finally may feel safe enough to come forward with information after all these years.

    Grant said investigators still are looking into foul play as a possibility related to the disappearance. A 2007 Modesto Bee article on missing-persons cases said, ?Police said they have information indicating that Bender was murdered.?

    Anyone with information on the case should reach out to Grant at 209-342-9104 or They can also report anonymously through CrimeStoppers.

    ?It?s been over 35 years, and we have a family who is still looking for answers and for some peace and some justice,? Grant said.

  2. #2
    Senior Member blighted star's Avatar
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    This is from her Charley Project entry

    Missing Since

    Missing From
    Modesto, California

    Non-Family Abduction


    Biracial, Hispanic, Native American, White

    Date of Birth
    11/27/1970 (50)

    15 years old

    Height and Weight
    5'5, 130 pounds

    Clothing/Jewelry Description
    A light blue skirt with multi-colored dots, a light-colored blouse, a white vest and a gold bracelet.

    Distinguishing Characteristics
    Multiracial female. Black hair, brown eyes. Susan has freckles. Her ears are pierced. She is of Caucasian, Hispanic and Native American descent.

    Susan left her family's home in Modesto, California on April 25, 1986 to stay with friends in Carmel, California. She was last seen at the former Greyhound bus depot on 10th Street and G Street in Modesto, making a phone call. Susan did not board a bus; instead, she was seen entering an unidentified full-sized olive-green 1977 Ford van outside of the station during the day. Susan has never been seen again.

    Susan's diary, address book and some items of her clothing were located at a suspect's home after she vanished. The person was questioned by investigators, but released due to a lack of evidence.

    Wesley Howard Shermantine Jr. and Loren Joseph Herzog, the so-called "Speed Freak Killers," are possible suspects in Susan's case. They were arrested in 2000 and ultimately convicted of murdering several females in the 1980s and 1990s; authorities believe they had as many as fifteen victims. Photographs of both men are posted with this case summary.

    Shermantine is on death row. Herzog's sentence was reduced from 78 years to 14 years after the court ruled his confession had been coerced. He was paroled in 2010 and then took his own life in January 2012, after he found out his former partner had begun cooperating with authorities and had offered to reveal the location of victims' bodies in exchange for a payment of $33,000.

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