Fleeing Malik's Place





On Aug. 27, the Star Ledger weighed in again with another small story:

"Leads going nowhere in search for missing Nutley go go dancer."


In following up his earlier stories, Kleinknecht said that

"investigators from the Nutley police and Essex County


Prosecutors Office have looked into a number of apparently false

sightings of the striking blonde dancer and fledgling journalist. They

have canvassed go go clubs and posting missing person fliers. But they

are no closer to determining whether the 36 year old dancer is dead or

alive a source of enormous frustration to her family and friends."


"There are a lot of things happening, but nothing encouraging," Floyd

said. "All the sightings have basically turned out to be dead ends."


Floyd said police had finally questioned Billy Walker, but could not

find evidence to link him to the disappearance.


"They were terrified of him (Walker)," Floyd said referring to his

daughter and her son. "He would say some very sinister things over the



Floyd, however, was consistently naive when it came to Sue, relying on

her as a reliable source of information, when she was not reliable.


Floyd, however, was extremely upset with the Nutley police and their

overall handling of the case. He told Kleinknecht that detectives had

not pursued the case aggressively and that Nutley's investigation had

come to a halt while the chief detective took a vacation.


"They've been somewhat lax in looking for her," Floyd said. <p> The

Nutley police deferred all questions to the Captain who took a day or

two to respond to the Ledger, and not in time to get quoted in the news



Were there clues to where Sue went? Some of us believe she stayed around

for the first few months then fled west, hiding herself in the mid west

dance circuit, where she could circulate along a dance route that

include Canton, Columbus, Cleveland, Knoxville, Indianapolis and points

across the Canadian border. A Columbus club named Mozart's Cafe featured

a Susan Walsh on Aug. 17. Other reports after her story on Unsolved

Mysteries claimed she was seen throughout the circuit. One Ohio woman

claimed Sue tried to rent an apartment from her.




From the beginning, a split existed. Rob Hardin, James Ridgeway, and

Joel Lewis all believed Sue was dead or bottoming out from drug

addiction and not likely to return. When I first talked to Melissa, she

was convinced Sue had been kidnapped by a wanna be biker named Morty

Epstien, who in order to gain entry in a prestigious bike ground from

Long Branch, had to produce a live body for the boys on the bikes to

gang bang.


Melissa, like most people surrounding Sue's disappearance, was obsessed,

and caught up with the dread and pain of something important missing in

their lives. She kept saying how she didn't think Sue was dead, that if

we could only reach her we could make Sue better again


Hardin, who Melissa does not like or trust or believe had a similar

approach for a while, hoping that she was alive, and could be rescued,

though slowly sinking into despair at ever seeing her again.


Dorothy, who went to college with Sue said Sue likes keeping people off

guard, telling them different stories that are tailored to their own

personalities. In this case, Hardin believed Sue is an ill person

walking around in a "Fugue" (one of Sue s favorite words) while Melissa,

who has danced and suffered through the stalking lust of men at the

clubs, tended to believe Sue is being kept somewhere against her will.


A break in the case, however, came about by accident, or rather, by the

intensive media attention the case had brought. Melissa got a call from

someone who she danced with in the pMelissa got a call from someone who

she danced with in the past, a quasi prostitu


"She'd have a fit if I told anyone," Melissa said. "But she told me she

had seen Sue."


This woman had apparently run into a Broadway prostitute named Judy with

whom Sue was staying. Sue had been the guest of a Broadway pimp named Ma

of a Broadway pimp named Malik. In the past, when Sue has disappeared,

she always found a secret friend with whom to stay, someone Sue

convinced to believe her paranoid tales, someone whose help was of dire



Most reasonable people did not believe Sue, or mostly likely passed her

tales off as the diatribe of a paranoid. But Sue always had a talent for

attracting vulnerable people. Sue often left a trail of confused people

behind her. Dorothy described this as something like a scene from the

movie "Night of the Living Dead," the walking, talking, wounded who are

irresistibly drawn to Sue and need her as the center of their lives.


In the past, Sue generally kept one person secret from the rest, someone

that was quite divorced from those she associated with daily. When in

trouble at college, she would run to this person and begged to be taken

in. This is probably what happened on July 16 when Sue fled the Nutley

scene and into the arms of her new protector, the pimp Malik.


Malik, who operated out of the projects just off Broadway, a hell hole

of violence which was at the center of the 1967 riots, took her in,

believing she would make a good addition to his stable. As said earlier,

Sue most likely made arrangements over the weekend before her vanishing

to get picked up by Malik or one of his stooges.


The pimp's glee must have evaporated quickly once the news of Sue's

vanishing hit the national and international press, and he realized he

had been duped. He couldn't pimp a girl like Sue with every cop from

every level of government breathing down his neck. And she was hardly a

prize, moaning and groaning how helpless she was, how much she needed

him, how much danger she was in. Perhaps, Malik was stupid enough to

even believe some of Sue's tales about the Russian Mafia. Perhaps some

real mobster connected with the town fathers of Nutley approached him

and told him they might find it helpful that Sue did not turn up again.

<p> But instead of killing Sue or selling her off into white slavery,

Malik freaked out and told her to leave, wanting no part of vampires or

the mob, wanting his old simple, very profitable life back without the

national headlines.


In such a short time, Sue could not have made many new contacts that

hadn't known her before, and in desperation, reached out to a rather

stupid street prostitute named Judy, whose head Sue soon filled with her

paranoid tales. Jout to a rather stupid street prostitute named Judy,

whose head Sue soon filled with her paranoid tales. Judy did most of her

business along Broadway near the Belleville Border, a range of territory

that included on night club, and hundred of drug dealers, hookers and

junkies. Already paranoid by drug use and her profession, Judy was hyped

to even a greater degree by Sue's


It was on one of these occasions that Melissa's contact, a woman who

lived across the street from Melissa, saw Judy and heard from Judy that

Sue was living with her at a 5th Street rooming house off Bloomfield

Avenue in Newark within blocks of the church where one Sue sighting

occurred, and within easy walk of where Melissa had seen Sue on the

street previously. Hearing about this, Melissa rushed down to Newark to

talk to Judy. <p> Judy, pumped up on Sue's fearful tales, took one look

at the desperate Melissa and ran like hell. Before being scared off by

the police, the two Newark bounty hunters were pursing this angle, too,

and had actually arranged for a bunch of us to get together one Sunday

morning to canvas the area. Rain delayed the endeavor, then the Nutley

police threatened them with jail, saying the two heard from Judy that

Sue was living with her at a 5th Street rooming house off Bloomfield

Avenue in Newark within blocks of the church where one Sue sighting

occurred, and within easy walk of where Melissa had seen Sue on the

street previously. Hearing about this, Melissa


The ever vigilant Melissa scoured the Newark Street in search of her,

and then, actually saw her.


"It was her," Melissa said, who knew Sue well, had worked with Sue, had

partied with Sue, who had seen Sue in dim light as well as bright. "She

was sitting in a car at the curb. I called to her. And I know she saw

me. But the car pulled away from the curb before I could reach it."


But Melissa did get the license plate number, and brought that to the

police. When the police traced it, they found the car belonged to a

Fairfield dentist, who denied being in Newark, denied soliciting sex,

and denied ever having Sue in his car.




On Sept. 8, Mary Jane Fine returned with another Bergen Record story on

Sue's father, Floyd.


"Her father, optimistic at first, has grown increasingly fretful as day

after rumor filled day goes by with no solid news of her whereabouts,"

Fine wrote. "The possibilities gnaw at him."


"I don't thin you're going to find too many parents who aren't a little

crazy under the circumstances," Floyd said. <p> Fine reported that

neither to Nutley police or the Essex County's Prosecutor's Office will

discuss the case, but that Nutley Police Captain Richard Hulbert

dismissed charges that police delayed their investigation. Melissa,

Floyd and others claim the police took nearly a week to get onto the

case, because they refused to take the disappearance of a go go dancer.


"We're used to that," Hulbert said. "If there's no one else around, kick

a cop, kick a dog."


O'Keefe, the associate editor for the Nutley Journal and at times a

harsh critic of the Nutley police, said that Detective Gus Formato who

is lead investigator on the case "is a straight arrow," and wouldn't

have delayed.


Floyd told Fine that his own relationship with the police after

countless "edgy phone calls" vacillated between indifferent and super



Floyd said he sometimes grasped at theories or rumors that offered him

hope. He wanted the FBI to step into the case (and blamed my web page

reporting for their refusal to do so). The FBI said it was not within

their jurisdiction with evidence of kidnapping across state lines.


The FBI did contact the Nutley police after reading about the account in

the newspaper, Special Agent Ann Todd told Fine.


"Basically, they informed us that they were investigating it as a

missing persons case," Todd said. "There was no indication of foul play,

and we're out of it."


He put faith in the police's ability to trace Sue's calls from the local

pay phones, something Bell Atlantic said was beyond their technology.

The company keeps only ltechnology. The company keeps only limited

records on pay p


"The premise is, once you place your quarter in the phone, your business

with Bell Atlantic is completed, and there is no record."


Floyd even hoped that the police were initially right in that Sue had

checked herself into a psychiatric hospital or rehab and where laws

guarding confidentially kept this fact from the police. But as Fine

pointed out, the prosecutor's office had the power to find out these



Floyd, at this point, saw the Newark sightings as the most promising

lead, even though most of them weren't "panning out." Later, when

interviewed for the New Jersey Monthly article by Joel Lewis, Floyd

conceded that Sue was probably no longer alive. <p> "He, too, noted that

she was very protective of her son and was always there for him, no

matter how she was feeling," Joel wrote.



Whose spin do you believe?



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