Everybody's in Show Biz

 

 

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By the end of October, 1996, people now breathlessly anticipated the

arrival of the Unsolved Mysteries camera crew. This dominated people

more than concern about Sue. By this time, I was deeply in trenched in

the case, subject to personal attack for my opinion. O'Keefe introduced

me to those of the local population who had not followed the case on my

internet web page.

 

"A fellow reporter in Secaucus has a person interest in the case of the

missing Nutley woman, Susan Walsh," O'Keefe wrote. "The supposedly

interested parties are ignoring him."

 

The editorial was partly due to a letter to the editor of his paper I

wrote, which he'd published the week before, outlining the theory that

Sue's vanishing was utterly intentional. While I had said as much

earlier, quotes in other publications always downplayed it. For the

first time, I said as much in print.

 

"This newspaper observed from the beginning how the Walsh disappearance

was handled as if it were her own fault. It may well be if she chose to

leave," O'Keefe wrote. "Many news reports in the local area emphasize

how the woman was a go-go dancer, had alcohol and drug problems and had

fringe involvement with the so-called gothic cults. The important

information-- height, weight, age, last seen at and such -- was

relegated to the end of long articles that gloried in vampires, psychics

and such nonsense."

 

Again, O'Keefe pressed the police for more information, and criticized

the other papers for covering Sue's disappearance as "Science Fiction,"

with "Unsolved Mysteries coming to town to do a story on local

psychics,, using the tragedy as a soapbox. This is doing nothing but

ensuring that the case will not be solved."

 

O'Keefe then took note of my investigation on the web, and how Unsolved

Mysteries had declined further contact after my telling them over the

telephone I thought Sue's vanishing was a fake.

 

"They said they would get back to him later and have not so far," wrote

O'Keefe, suggesting that the program did not want to deviate from the

"psychics and Ouija board style of investigation" in which it was

involved.

 

"The official position, however, remains that she is `missing' and a

possible homicide," O'Keefe wrote. "Until the proper people get their 15

minutes of fame on the tabloid television show, do not expect this

situation to change."

 

O'Keefe also noted that one "very good source" claimed Sue had been

keeping abreast of all the coverage, making somebody else part of this

circus.

 

"Sullivan noted in his letter that Walsh was drawn to people of power

and experience wherever she went," O'Keefe wrote, encouraging people to

look at the web account of her past behavior.

 

"She was known to habitually spin yarns that caused confusion among

acquaintances and served to make herself the center of attention," he

wrote. "She would drop vague hints about knowing people in the CIA,

which matched the vampire cult reports very well... In every case this

writer has found the cult-tales came from people who likely had access

to Walsh after her disappearance. One source mentioned how she was

dropping vague stories about the Russian Mafia and cults just before she

left. He told this writer in no uncertain terms that he deduced she was

not in any trouble and was planning to take off."

 

In pressing for more action, O'Keefe noted my letter.

 

"He (Sullivan) noted that she seemed unable to be anywhere without

hitching up to older, powerful people. That she had some connection to

such types in Nutley -- as posted by Sullivan and partially confirmed by

this writer."

 

Early in November, the police department responded as Unsolved Mystery's

cameras swept through Nutley. A headline in the Nutley Sun, O'Keefe's

competition read: "Mystery show tapes segment on missing mom; Police

speak publicly about theory on her disappearance."

 

"NBC's television's Unsolved Mysteries conducted four days of taping

last week for an upcoming TV segment on Susan WaWalsh," James Zoccoli

wrote. "The show, scheduled to air in January, will include interviews

with family members, friends and local police, along with re-enactments

of turning points in Walsh's life

 

"It is an interesting story and that's why we did it," said Eric Taylor,

director of the segment, neglecting to say that James Ridgeway had

pulled strings as well.

 

The program, according to this account, planned to have an actress

portray Sue as a go-go dancer and a patron of New York City's vampire

scene.

 

"We don't presume she disappeared because of vampirism," Taylor told

Zoccoli. "But she seemed very interested in subcultures."

 

But with the usual television dramatics, the director suggested the

program might have some secrets to uncover.

 

"I'm sure there are people who have relevant information that have not

come forward," Taylor said, failing again to mention that the program

may indeed have neglected to seek out many with information not fitting

its format.

 

The television show managed to interview the Nutley police and for the

first time, a detective gave a theory of Sue's vanishing.

 

"We feel that Susan is alive and that she wants to be out there," said

Detective John Rayan. "We want her to know that there are no warrants

out for her and that she is not in any trouble."

 

Taylor, according to the Nutley Sun account, had intended to interview

the amateur psychic at the Orechio owned OBC-TV studio in Nutley, but

cut the segment for lack of time. Barbara Mackey was trotted out of the

Orechio media empire when the more recognized Dorothy Allison gave a

vision which painted Sue as "alive and well" and doing what she wanted

"of her own free will."

 

Mackey, however, was adamant about her vision, and would later, seek a

book contract based partly on this prediction.

 

"It flashed in front of my eyes as I was reading a story about Susan,"

Mackey said.

 

Meanwhile Sue's friends held out hope that Mackey's vision was wrong.

Melissa, who's opinion would be included in the program, claimed the

sightings were proof of Sue's survival.

 

"She has been seen by many people," Melissa said.

 

This article, like so many before it, dragged out of the closet the

question of whether or not Sue was a recovering alcoholic who had

returned to her obsession, and again, brought out the opinion that Sue

would not leave her son without some major who had returned to her

obsession, and again, brought out the opinion that Sue would not leave

her son without some major reason. Floyd, one of the chief proponents of

this theory and a recovering alcoholic himself, told Zoccoli that he

believed she had fallen back into her old habits, combined with the use

o

 

"I dreamt she called me on the phone and told me she was no longer in

any pain," Floyd said.

 

"Merchant's voice hesitated as he said the implication of the dream was

clear to him," Zoccoli wrote, "that is daughter is no longer alive."

 

Later, Floyd told Joel Lewis that "Sue is probably no longer alive," and

continued to emphasize her love of her son as proof, noting that she was

"very protective of her son and was always there for him, no matter how

she was feeling. She felt that she had to do go-go dancing to support

her son."

 

But in Joel's unpublished story, Floyd went further than he had

previously, saying not only had Sue fallen back into her old habits, but

that some doctors were to blame.

 

"He also feels that his daughter was being overmedicated by her

doctors," Joel wrote.

 

"Sue had a bi-polar disorder, yet it was not the most severe form,"

Floyd said. "They had her on too many medications-- lithium, Xanax, and

, I believe, Prozac. It's possible she may have had a bad reaction to

the medications, given that she was drinking and doing cocaine as well."

 

Indeed, this was one of the most believable aspects of The Susan Walsh

Story. When I inherited my uncle in 1981, he had seen dozens of doctors.

Each had given him a prescription for a different drug, each failing to

ask if he had been prescribed drugs by other doctors. In my uncle's

haste to cure himself, he had faithfully washed down these pills with

alcohol, thus destroying his body chemistry and sending him into a fit

of shakes it took years for him to overcome. He never overcame the

mental disorders that resulted from the overdose.

 

But just as Mackey insisted that Sue was dead, Allison said just the

opposite.

 

"I do not believe she has been murdered," Allison said. "I don't get a

death feeling."

 

Allison has given the police clues to Sue's disappearance, but Zoccoli

said these were not disclosed "if any of the leads proved fruitful."

 

The article went on to say that Sue sightings had occurred in a wide

area of Northern New Jersey, including Newark, Bellevile and Midland

Park. It also claimed that Sue had planned to enter a clinic in order to

become "a better Godmother" to Melissa's baby.

 

Sue had also apparently told friends that someone was out to get her.

 

"The friend said that on more than one occasion two men dressed in

expensive suits appeared to follow Walsh," Zoccoli wrote. "The

girlfriend also said the missing Nutley women confided in her just days

before her disappearance saying that somebody was obsessed with her."

 

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Floyd's Threat

 

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