The Underground Sue
An investment banker called the Nutley police in May. He told Detective Jack Barry that he had seen Sue in an Old Bridge night club in April.
"We went down there to check it out," Barry told James Zoccoli.
Detectives interviewed the club's employees, including the exotic dancers who worked there.
"They said they knew her, but hadn't seen her," Barry said.
With municipal and private detectives hunting her, Sue now could honestly she was being pursued and slipped into a mode of operations for which she'd practiced all her life.
And a profile of the "Underground Sue" would easily fit a predicable pattern of behavior.
While divorsed from her old life, Sue would need to keep in contact with someone, father, ex-husband, ex-boyfriend, girlfiend, people who could feed her enough information to know how close pursuers were to uncovering her. She would likely talked to more than one because she would not feel she could get the complete truth from a single individual. She would swear each to utter secrecy, convincing the most simple of these people that this plot is larger than it appears and that people aren't just seeking her out to help her, but to cause her greater harm.
She would change location frequently. While she would avoid any return to Nutley, she would likely continued to visit and work in the sex industry, because money would become a much more important factor in keeping her hidden. Most likely, she would return to the private clubs where she worked during her supposed straight years, since they would have their own reasons for secrecy and a well-established security network.
Since Unsolved Mysteries, Sue would likely travel in some sort of disguise, something she avoided when she first disappeared. This would likely constitute black hair, red lipstick and fingernails -- an give her the general appearance of the Irish terrorist from The Crying Game.
Except when dealing with total strangers, Sue's contact with people will come by pre-arranged phone call, calls made from one phone booth to another. She would know a number to call. Her contact would be there to recieve it, picking up the call after a predetermined number of rings. She would also have a beeper, but only a very few special people would have the number.
Meetings with any of her original friends would be rare, if ever. Most likely, Sue has maintained contact with Mark and her child, and has made extensive use of the Goth underground -- selling her contacts there on the idea that the authorities are after her because of her friendship with those people. She probably has also used her boyfriend Christian in this regard, having him do much of the ground work in Manhattan she dares not do herself. She has most likely kept very close contact in the sex industry with people like Mistress Rena, for whom Sue may have worked since vanishing.
When talking to any of her contacts, Sue would keep her phone calls short -- fearing that the police or someone would be tracing it despite her precautions. She would also attempt to disguise her voice.
On those rare occassions when she does meet with someone, it would not be in a go-go bar or any place where authorities would expect her to go. She might set up meetings in one of the private sex clubs, since patrons would be forced to pay their way in. Few cops would pay $250 to $500 just to catch Sue -- although she might even avoid this predicable stragedy.
Most likely, Sue would use someone like Christian to meet people for her, to collect written materials, money, clothing or any other thing she likely needed.
As the Old Bridge sighting seemed to indicate, Sue could not avoid dancing altogether. It is also unlikely that she ceased writing for sex publications either, working on speculation for West Coast skin magazines where her sytle would not stand out as much -- most of these are centered in the Hollywood section of LA. Those aricles revealing too much of her current activity she would submit just as she is leaving a location. She may disguise these stories to keep people from tracing it back to her.
While she might be tempted to cash in on her new-found fame, Sue would resist telling any editor who she really is -- though she may have found some gulible editor from whom she has elicted a vow of secrecy as well. She will have likely hooked up with a specific editor/writer whose contacts she is using, as part of some live-in arrangement, or keeping a stable of local writers from whom she is stealing ideas.
She could also be suplementing her income with some kind of child care or tutoring, complaining the whole time about her lack of money and how miserable she is.
Yet, she really is miserable. The pressure of uprooting her life and fear of being recognized is creating in her an emotional roller coaster similar to the bi-polar disease she has convinced people she has.
"The fugitive life is functional schizophrenia," Abbie Hoffman once said. "At best, it is controlled, at worst wildly out of gear."
And she will be honestly broke. Writing and dancing won't make any more money for her on the run than it did when she lived more stably in Nutley. She will be tempted to do more to make money, performing some level of prostitution she will justify by telling herself she has no choice, hiding her activities from herself by hiding behind her phony identity.
"That's not really me doing it," she'll tell herself.
During all this, she will be tempted to come home, to turn herself in, and suffer the consequences -- resisting this temptation as a suggestion of the devil. But she will not be able to resist coming back to her old haunts in New York, where she can look over her past life with a kind of perverse nostalgia, remembering a time when hadn't felt so hunted. Rumors claim Sue has found a "safe house" in Jersey City, near enough the Grove Street PATH for easy access into and out of Manhattan.
Some locations form reference points for her, helping to keep her sane, but even when visiting such locations, she will be looking around, trying to spot a familiar face in the crowd before some familiar face spots her. She will flee at a mere hint of such recognization, even if she isn't certain.
She will be obsessed with time. She will wear a watch, and maybe carry another in her purse, and check both often, and check these against public clocks to see if their are still working. She will be constantly worried about keeping appointments and making calls at specific times.
She will be constantly planning her travel arrangements, how she will get from one place to another as well as alternative options in case something goes wrong. She will need to know in advance, how she will look in a given location. She will study a scene when she arrives, thinking about whether she needs to hurry or slow down. She will debate whether or not to take a cab or talk someone into giving a ride, or even borrowing someone's car.
Since Sue is supposed to wear glasses -- and has not likely purchased contact lens during her flight -- this whole process becomes even more insane, she squinting at people constantly, and taking flight when normal sight would have given her easier recognition. She may adopt sunglasses, even though these will make her look suspicious. She will watch other people's eyes.
She will constantly change modes. She will go the wrong way in order to throw off pursuit. While crowds would likely scare her, they also provide relief, allowing her to vanish at need, keeping her from standing out. If she goes to meet someone, she goes to public places.
She will also likely change the way she traditionally dressed, choosing oddly conservative clothing -- nothing too uncool, but things that other people would not expect her to wear, avoiding the East Village look she maintained most of her life.
The Nutley Police believe Sue fled the state when pursuit grew too close in Newark. During my investigations, I uncovered several possible locations in Ohio where she may have done. O'Keefe contacted several police departments to look into the matter. They said the request would have to come from the Nutley Police -- which they apparently did after Unsolved Mysteries repeated its show on Sue, an a woman there, claimed Sue had tried to rent an appartment from her.