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Crime News Missing Persons

Police Re-Open Cold Case Of California Teen Susan Bender, Who's Been Missing Since 1986

Modesto Police have re-opened the cold case of missing teen Susan Bender, who was just 15 when she was last seen at a Greyhound bus station 35 years ago.

By Constance Johnson
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Susan Robin Bender was last seen at a Greyhound bus station in Modesto, California on a balmy afternoon on April 25, 1986. She was just 15. Now, 35 years later police have re-opened the cold case hoping to bring closure to her family.

She told a friend she was going to Carmel to visit friends, according to the Modesto Bee. Susan never boarded the bus. She made a telephone call and 10 minutes later a green van appeared, Sandie Silveria told investigators at the time, according to KOVR.

“I said OK let me know when you’re OK when you get there, and I never heard from her again, Silveria told the station. “She had this electric personality about her.”

Silveria searched for new leads by posting to social media over the years. “She doesn’t deserve to be forgotten, we need answers,” she said.

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Susan’s mother, Patricia Chupco spoke to KOVR in 2012, telling the station, “I haven’t quit after all these years. I never will."

Silveria said there is someone with answers about what happened to her friend.

"Her diary and personal belongings were found in someone else's home. Her mother truly thought that is the person who truly knows exactly what happened to Susan, and I agree," Silveria told KOVR.

Police have not revealed details about suspects or motives in the case.

“Given the circumstances of the crime, we also believe there may be individuals (previously unidentified) who may have pertinent information surrounding Susan’s disappearance,” Det. Josh Grant with the Modesto Police Department said in a statement.

Grant is betting on advances in new technology to help get new leads. He also hopes the passage of time will make people feel more comfortable about revealing what they know about the case, according to the Modesto Bee.

The detective told the paper that foul play has not been ruled out. The newspaper reported in 2007 that police had information indicating Bender was murdered.

Susan’s family and friends just want to know what happened to her.

“Where is she, what happened to her, and whoever did this, they [should] be held accountable,” Silveria told KOVR. “The hope of her being found alive is not something you can realistically look at, but the hope of justice being done for her, the hope of this is what happened, and she deserves justice is, I think, what would make us feel a little better.”

Police have also released an age progression photograph showing what Susan who look like now at the age of 50.

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