Renewed effort in 1988 case of missing Lake Elmo teen

- On the anniversary of her sister’s disappearance, Christine Swedell holds an old birthday card close. It was for her Sweet 16, signed with love from her sister Susan.

“Every January 19th I carry it around. So if I was at school, college, no matter where I’m at - just walking into a store – I’m holding on to it,” said Christine.

She’s been carrying that card for 30 years. But a renewed effort to solve the mystery of her sister’s case is bringing new hope to the Swedell family.

“Someone out there knows the whereabouts of Susan,” said Washington County Sheriff Dan Starry.

Nineteen-year-old Susan Swedell of Lake Elmo was last seen January 19, 1988. On her way home from work, Susan stopped at a gas station, which is now a Holiday, at Manning Avenue and Highway 5 in Lake Elmo. She had car trouble and got into a car with an unknown man.

“He was described as unshaven, tall with shoulder length curly hair and wearing a leather jacket," said Sheriff Starry. "Susan has not been heard from since.”

With a recent push on social media and billboards throughout the state, investigators received a new influx of tips.

“It’s a large undertaking, it’s a lot of reviewing, so if there’s something we can continue to do and to look at and relook at or interview people that’s what we’re going to do,” said Sheriff Starry.

A call for new leads could help bring closure to family members left holding on to memories from decades ago. 

“You know my life is really stuck at 16 because I’m just waiting for her to come home,” said Christine.

Saturday, the Washington Sheriff's Office is participating in a walk in Susan's honor at the Maplewood Mall at 10 a.m.

Anyone with information about Susan Swedell is asked to contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at (651)430-7850.

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