DNA breakthrough, eight clues could solve 1971 murder of Seacliff teenager Susi Schmidt


Patricia “Susi” Schmidt was only 16 when she was brutally murdered.

In the early hours of Saturday, December 18, 1971, she completed her second shift at the Burger King in Darlington.

She went out to wait for her father, who was 10 minutes late to pick her up and take her home to Seacliff.

His partially clad body was found later that day on a dirt road in Hallett Cove.

With tomorrow marking the 50th anniversary of Susi’s murder, South Australia Police have issued yet another call for information.

The anniversary coincides with a new investigation following a breakthrough in the case after DNA was successfully collected during extensive testing of her clothing.

“Susi was a nice young girl, she came from a good family,” said Detective Superintendent Des Bray of SAPOL’s Major Crime Investigation Division.

“She was on her second day on the job, she had her life ahead of her and unfortunately was cut short by a predator that was in the community.

“Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of police and forensic experts in decades, the case has not been resolved and this has contributed to decades of mourning for the Schmidt family.

At 9:30 a.m., Susi’s father reported her missing to Darlington Police Station.

It was a police officer who worked for the local SFC who was not on duty who found his body later that day.

As the truck drove, he saw the remains of a young girl in the grass on a dirt edge and, on closer inspection, found the partially clad body of Susan, who was evidently deceased from a violent death and had obviously been sexually assaulted, ”the detective said. said Superintendent Bray.

SA Des Bray Police Superintendent with a list of clues relating to the murder. (ABC News)

Police have released details of eight clues in hopes they may lead to a resolution of the case:

  • Gold, brass, nickel and other metal filings from key cuts
  • Microscopic particles from a shoe repair company
  • Welding slag (by-product left over from the welding process)
  • Particles of electrical waste from Phillips Industries (which was in Henley Beach at the time)
  • Iridescent blue paintwork of a 1971 blue Holden Monaro
  • Small flakes of paint – pink on one side and white on the other
  • Necklace missing with “Susi” engraved on the back
  • DNA of unknown men

“It could be people associated with Susan, it could be people who regularly visit the Burger King, it could be someone who just knows the offenders but may have no connection to Susi,” said Detective Superintendent Bray.

More than one responsible person

Police believe more than one person is responsible for Susi’s death and today they are believed to be in their sixties or more.

There is evidence that two or more people were involved in his sexual assault.

“Most likely, one or more of them are alive, some may have died,” said Detective Superintendent Bray.

There are several possibilities as to what happened before Susi was murdered.

“It is possible that Susi went with someone she knew and these people were responsible for her death,” said Detective Superintendent Bray.

“It is possible that she accepted a lift from a stranger … or that she was abducted by the side of the road.”

A television screen with a yellow background and a picture of a woman
A million dollar reward is offered to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Susi’s murder. (ABC News: Natasha Thiele)

Detective Superintendent Bray said there were two main suspects interviewed at the time of Susi’s murder.

“The DNA of another suspect did not match [with] the profile we had. ”

According to the police, this does not exclude that the suspect was not involved, it is just that the investigators have on file only the DNA of one of the perpetrators.

“Best breakthrough in 50 years”

Over the past 18 months, the police have obtained and uploaded the new DNA profile to the national DNA database so that it can be immediately checked against any new profiles uploaded in the future.

“This profile is not in the database so we don’t know who this suspect is, but we are exploring a number of family matches to see if we can relate the offenders,” Detective Superintendent Bray said.

“Family Search” is a sophisticated test that helps track perpetrators by linking DNA from the crime scene to family members.

This is the same process that led to the conviction of the man dubbed the North Adelaide Rapist and solved the murder of Suzanne Poll at a Salisbury stationery in 1993.

“The truth is, there is someone out there today, as I speak, who could solve this problem very, very quickly.

“If someone were to call Crime Stoppers tonight and talk to a detective and come up with the correct name, we could match that to DNA and solve this case in a matter of weeks.”

There is a reward of up to $ 1 million for anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person (s) responsible for Susi’s death.


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