top of page
  • Writer's pictureMountain State Mysteries

The Case of Patricia Sue Richmond

PATRICIA SUE BROGAN RICHMOND WAS BORN ON FEBRUARY 23 1954 TO THELMA JEAN THOMPSON BROGAN AND HOMER HARRISON BROGAN.

IN 1971 BETWEEN HER JUNIOR AND SENIOR YEAR SUZIE WAS DATING BRUCE RICHMOND. THE TWO GOT MARRIED IN PEARISBURG, VIRGINIA. SUZIE ENDED UP DROPPING OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL DUE TO HER GETTING PREGNANT WITH THEIR DAUGHTER  ANGELA ARLENE AND GIVING BIRTH IN MARCH OF 1972. THE COUPLE WOULD MOVE TO PLUTO ROAD IN SHADY SPRING, WEST VIRGINIA. 


EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT IN SUZIE’S LIFE. THAT IS UNTIL NOVEMBER 8TH, 1973. 



THE MORNING ON NOVEMBER 8TH, 1973 STARTED OUT AS A NORMAL DAY FOR SUZIE SHE WAS WEARING A WHITE DRESS, A BLUE SWEATER, WHITE BOOTS AND A RED RIBBON TIED IN HER BLACK WIG. SHE DROPPED OFF ANGELA AT HER PARENTS HOME IN BEAVER, WEST VIRGINIA AT 10:30 AM. 

THELMA SAID IN AN INTERVIEW WITH THE RALEIGH REGISTER THAT “IT WAS 10:45 AM ON THURSDAY WHEN SHE LEFT. I KNOW BECAUSE SHE ASKED ME WHAT TIME IT WAS. I’LL NEVER FORGET THAT DAY.”


ACCORDING TO SUZIE’S MOM THELMA SUZIE WAS GOING TO DELIVER SOME AMWAY PRODUCTS TO SOME CUSTOMERS ON OLD CROW ROAD IN BEAVER. AFTER DROPPING OFF THE PRODUCTS SUZIE MET UP WITH A FRIEND BEFORE SHE TOOK HER GRANDMOTHER TO RANSOMS MARKET IN BEAVER. 


AFTER TAKING HER GRANDMOTHER TO RANSOMS MARKET SUZIE WAS SEEN AT THE AMOCO SERVICE STATION AROUND NOON. THE SAME AMOCO SERVICE STATION THAT MARGIE DODD WAS ABDUCTED FROM. 

SUZIE WAS DRIVING HER ORANGE 1970’S VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE WITH THE WEST VIRGINIA LICENSE PLATE NUMBER 7D-2267.

AFTER SHE LEFT THE AMOCO STATION SHE DROVE HER GRANDMOTHER HOME. 

FOR SOME REASON SUZIE DID NOT RETURN TO HER PARENTS HOME LIKE SHE WAS GOING TO. 




AS THE DAY WENT ON THELMA GOT MORE AND MORE WORRIED ABOUT HER DAUGHTER. SO SHE CALLED THE POLICE TO REPORT SUZIE AS A POSSIBLE MISSING PERSON. SHE WAS OF COURSE TOLD TO WAIT 24 HOURS TO A COUPLE OF DAYS BECAUSE HER DAUGHTER MAY HAVE JUST SIMPLE RAN OFF. 

 THE HOURS TURNED INTO DAYS AND THERE WAS STILL NO WORD FROM SUZIE. 

BRUCE FELT LIKE SOMETHING WAS WRONG SO HE POSTED A $1,000 REWARD WHICH WOULD BE  $7,217.55 IN 2024. THE REWARD WAS FOR ANY INFORMATION LEADING TO THE RETURN OF SUZIE. 


OVER 100 OF SUZIE’S FRIENDS AND RELATIVES STARTED TO ORGANIZE SEARCH PARTIES TO SEARCH THE AREA. 

THE SEARCH INCLUDED A HELICOPTER TO LOOK FOR A POSSIBLE CAR ACCIDENT THAT COULDN’T BE SEEN ON FOOT. 

BRUCE EVEN WENT UP THE SKY TWICE IN A FRIENDS AIRPLANE IN HOPES TO FIND SUZIE’S ORANGE VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE. 


WHAT NO ONE KNEW WHILE SEARCHING IS THAT TIPS HAD ALREADY CAME IN INVOLVING THE DISAPPEARANCE OF SUZIE. 



ON NOVEMBER 8TH, THE DAY SUZIE WENT MISSING CALLS WERE BEING MADE IN MINDEN WEST VIRGINIA, ABOUT 48 MINUTES AWAY FROM PLUTO ROAD WHERE SUZIE AND BRUCE LIVED. RESIDENTS REPORTED A CAR THAT WAS ON FIRE OVER THE HILL AT THE CONCHO TRASH DUMP. 

THELMA SAID IN HER INTERVIEW WITH THE RALEIGH REGISTER “NINE DAYS AFTER SHE WAS MISSING THEY FOUND HER CAR OVER AN EMBANKMENT NEAR MINDEN. IT HAD BEEN SATURATED WITH GAS AND BURNED, BUT IT SAT THERE FOR ABOUT A WEEK BEFORE ANYONE WENT TO INVESTIGATE IT. NEIGHBORS TOLD ME THEY CALLED THE POLICE ABOUT IT WHEN IT WAS ON FIRE.”


THE CAR WAS FINALLY INVESTIGATED ON NOVEMBER 16TH. IN AN ARTICLE IT SAID “A BURNED CAR IDENTIFIED BY STATE POLICE AS BELONGING TO PATRICIA SUE RICHMOND, 19, OF PLUTO ROAD IN SHADY SPRING WAS FOUND FRIDAY OVER AN EMBANKMENT AT MINDEN. SHE HAD BEEN MISSING SINCE NOVEMBER 8TH AFTER REPORTEDLY LEAVING HER 19-MONTH-OLD BABY WITH HER MOTHER, SAYING SHE WAS GOING TO VISIT IN CROW FOR ABOUT AN HOUR AND A HALF, POLICE SAID. AN EXTENSIVE SEARCH BY MORE THAN 100 FRIENDS AND RELATIVES HAS TURNED UP NOTHING POLICE SAID. THE CASE IS BEING INVESTIGATED BY TROOPER J.O. COLE OF THE BECKLEY STATE POLICE DETACHMENT. 

ANYONE HAVING INFORMATION CONCERNING THE WOMAN, LAST SEEN IN THE BEAVER - OLD CROW ROAD AREA, SHOULD CONTACT STATE POLICE HEADQUARTERS.”


INVESTIGATORS WITH THE STATE POLICE SEARCHED THROUGH THE REMAINS OF THE VEHICLE AND SEARCHED THE SURROUNDING AREA. SADLY THERE WAS NO TRACE OF SUZIE OR ANYONE ELSE.


AUTHORITIES WERE ABLE TO DETERMINE THAT THE VEHICLE DID NOT GO OVER THE EMBANKMENT DUE TO AN ACCIDENT BUT THAT IT HAD BEEN ROLLED OVER THE EMBANKMENT. THE TRACES OF GAS SHOWED THEM THAT IT HAD BEEN SET ON PURPOSE. 

AUTHORITIES WERE ABLE TO FIND ONE SINGLE CLUE FROM THE BURNT REMAINS OF THE VEHICLE. A GOLD WEDDING BAND WITH THE NAME GOLD CIRCLE ENGRAVED ON IT. 

FROM OUR RESEARCH WE HAVE GATHERED THAT GOLD CIRCLE WAS A DISCOUNT DEPARTMENT STORE MOSTLY COVERING OHIO, NEW YORK, KENTUCKY, AND WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA. 

TO US IT LOOKS LIKE IT WOULD BE THE SAME VIBE AS A K-MART SELLING CLOTHES,BEDDING, JEWELRY, ELECTRONICS. YOU NAME IT THEY SOLD IT. GOLD CIRCLE STAYED IN BUSINESS FROM 1967 TO 1988 AND FROM OUR RESEARCH THERE WAS NOT A GOLD CIRCLE STORE IN WEST VIRGINIA. 


HOWEVER AUTHORITIES BELIEVED THAT THE RING BELONGED TO SUZIE HOWEVER HER FAMILY TOLD THEM THAT IT DIDN’T. 

ANOTHER THING THAT MADE AUTHORITIES SCRATCH THEIR HEADS WAS HOW DID SUZIE’S VOLKSWAGEN END UP IN MINDEN. 



WHILE INVESTIGATORS WERE TRYING TO FIND SUZIE THERE WERE TWO MEN RACCOON HUNTING AT PLUM ORCHARD LAKE IN FAYETTE COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA. 

AROUND 11PM JAMES SHAY AND HARVEY WILLIAMS WERE ON THE EASTERN SHORE OF PLUM ORCHARD LAKE WHEN THEY FOUND THE REMAINS OF SUZIE LYING AT THE BASE OF AN OVERTURNED TREE APPROXIMATELY 50 YEARS FROM THE ROAD. THE MEN WENT AND FOUND THE SUPERINTENDENT AND TOLD HIM THEY FOUND A PERSON'S BODY WITH ITS “HEAD BLOWN OFF”.

THE SUPERINTENDENT OF PLUM ORCHARD LAKE CALLED THE STATE POLICE. THE STATE OF DECOMPOSITION MADE IDENTIFICATION IMPOSSIBLE. 

WHEN THEY SAW A WHITE DRESS AND A BLUE SWEATER THE KNEW IT WAS THE SAME TYPE OF CLOTHING SUZIE WAS WEARING ON THE DAY SHE WENT MISSING. THE STATE OF HER REMAINS MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO DETERMINE IF SEXUAL ASSAULT HAD OCCURED. 

SUZIE’S DRESS, BRA, AND SKIRT WERE FOUND WRAPPED AROUND HER NECK. A JAN CARE AMBULANCE DRIVER SAID THAT SUZIE’S FACE LOOKED AS IF IT HAD BEEN EITHER EATEN AWAY BY ANIMALS OR BEATEN BEYOND RECOGNITION. 


SUZIE’S BODY WAS TAKEN TO THE TYREE FUNERAL HOME IN OAK HILL, WEST VIRGINIA WHERE AN AUTOPSY WAS PERFORMED BY DR. M. JAMIL AHMED, A BECKLEY PATHOLOGIST. 


SUZIE’S BODY WAS POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED BY HER DENTIST WHO CHECKED HER TEETH WITH DENTAL CHARTS.


DR.NEWWLL SAID HE COULD NOT IMMEDIATELY SEE ANY INDICATIONS OF OTHER PHYSICAL INJURY OTHER THAN THE DECOMPOSED FACE. DR.NEWELL SAID THE BODY MUST HAVE BEEN IN A PARTICULAR SPOT FOR SEVERAL DAYS. 

 DESPITE THE CLOTHING BEING WRAPPED AROUND SUZIE’S NECK DR.NEWELL SAID THE CAUSE OF DEATH WAS DUE TO TWO STAB WOUNDS IN THE AREA OF THE LEFT BREAST WHICH PUNCTURED THE LUNG AND CAUSE HEMORRHAGING. THE MURDER WEAPON WAS NEVER IDENTIFIED BUT IT WAS DETERMINED TO HAVE A BLUNT END TO IT.


POLICE KEPT INVESTIGATING THE CRIME SCENE AND THEY DISCOVERED SUZIE’S WIG WITH A RED SCARF ATTACHED, A DENTAL PLATE, AND A GOLD CHAIN WITH THE EMBLEM OF A SAILING SHIP ON IT. 

THE ONLY THING AT THE CRIME SCENE THAT BELONG TO SUZIE WAS THE WIG. WHO THE RED SCARF, DENTAL PLATE, AND GOLD CHAIN BELONGED TO IS STILL A MYSTERY TO THIS DAY. 

POLICE DID NOTICE ONE ITEM OF SUZIE’S WAS MISSING. THE WHITE BOOTS SHE HAD BEEN WEARING WERE NOT AT THE CRIME SCENE OR EVEN THE SCENE OF HER BURNED CAR. 




ONE OF THE MAIN QUESTIONS POLICE HAD IN THIS CASE WAS HOW DID SUZIE END UP AT PLUM ORCHARD LAKE AND HER CAR BURNED OVER AN EMBANKMENT IN MINDEN A ROUND TRIP OF 30 MILES. 


WITH ALL OF THE MEDIA COVERAGE OF THIS CASE POLICE STARTED TO GET SOME TIPS ON WHAT HAPPENED TO SUZIE ON NOVEMBER 8TH 1973.. 


TWO SALESMEN WHO WORKED AT THE MURPHY MART IN THE RALEIGH MALL AREA OF BECKLEY CONTACTED THE STATE POLICE. THE TWO MEN REPORTED THAT AROUND 1:30 PM ON NOVEMBER 8TH THEY BOTH OBSERVED AN AFRICAN AMERICAN MALE AND A PETITE CAUCASIAN FEMALE WITH DARK HAIR SITTING INSIDE OF A BRIGHT ORANGE VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE. THEY BOTH SAID THE WOMAN DID NOT APPEAR TO BE IN ANY DISTRESS SOMETHING ABOUT IT JUST FELT OFF TO THEM. THE FEMALE WAS SEATED ON THE PASSENGER SIDE OF THE CAR WHILE THE MALE WAS IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT. THEY SAID THE MALE SEEMED TO BE HAVING TROUBLE WITH THE CAR AS HE ATTEMPTED TO DRIVE IT OUT OF THE PARKING LOT. TO BOTH MEN THE ACTIONS OF THE MAN IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT WERE SIMILAR TO THOSE OF SOMEONE WHO HAD NEVER DRIVEN A STICK SHIFT. 

THEY WITNESS THE MAN TURN ONTO WHAT WAS US ROUTE 19 AND 21 NORTH HEADED TOWARDS MOUNT HOPE. 

ONE OF THE MEN WHO WITNESSED THIS THOUGHT HE RECOGNIZED THE WOMAN IN THE CAR SO HE WAS SMART AND HURRIED UP AND GOT SOMETHING TO WRITE ON AND WROTE DOWN THE CARS LICENSE PLATE NUMBER. 

THE DAY AFTER SUZIE’S BODY WAS FOUND THE SALESMAN GAVE THE PIECE OF PAPER TO THE POLICE AND BY WHAT SEEMS JUST PURE LUCK IT WAS THE SAME LICENSE PLATE NUMBER THAT WAS ON THE BACK OF SUZIE’S CAR.


SO WITH THIS POLICE STARTED TO WONDER WHY SUZIE DROVE ALL THE WAY INTO BECKLEY. IT WASN’T SOMETHING THAT SEEMED TO BE IN HER PLANS BUT FROM THE PODCAST COLD CASE CREW THEY HAVE SAID THEY BELIEVED THAT SUZIE USED TO WORK AT A RESTAURANT IN THE AREA. A RESTAURANT THAT IS STILL THERE IN THE SAME SPOT TODAY ALTHOUGH IT MAY BE A NEW BUILDING. 

SUZIE WAS RUMORED TO HAVE WORKED AT LONG JOHN SILVERS AT SOME POINT IN TIME AND WAS SAID TO STILL HAVE SOME FRIENDS THAT STILL WORKED THERE SO MAYBE SHE WENT THERE FOR SOME LUNCH OR JUST TO STOP IN AND SAY HI TO A FRIEND THAT WAS WORKING. IT DID CROSS MY MIND WHILE PUTTING THIS EPISODE TOGETHER THAT MAYBE SOMEONE SHE WAS DELIVERING AMWAY PRODUCTS TO WASN’T HOME AND SHE KNEW THEY WERE AT WORK SO MAYBE SHE WAS JUST THERE TO DROP OFF THEIR ORDER.


30 MINUTES LATER AROUND 2PM NOT ONE, NOT TWO, BUT THREE DIFFERENT COAL TRUCK DRIVERS  SPOTTED SUZIE’S CAR DRIVING ALONG THE NARROW MIDEN DRIVE. THIS SIGHTING HAPPENED NEAR WHERE SUZIE’S CAR WAS ACTUALLY PUSHED OVER THE EMBANKMENT AND SET ON FIRE. 


ALL THREE DRIVERS SAID THAT THE CAR WAS FLYING DOWN THE ROAD WITH THE WINDOWS ROLLED DOWN AND THE COAL DRIVERS SAW TWO AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN ONE DRIVING AND ONE IN THE PASSENGER SEAT AND A CAUCASIAN FEMALE SEATED BETWEEN THEM. 


THESE SIGHTINGS CAUSED POLICE TO FOCUS ON THE MINDEN AREA. THEY ACTUALLY ENDED UP FINDING OUT THAT ONE OF THE RESIDENTS WHO REPORTED SUZIE’S CAR BEING ON FIRE HAD A STORY THEY WANTED TO HEAR. 


A MAN WHO WE ARE GOING TO CALL ROBERT SAW THE FLAMES FROM THE CAR AND WENT TO INVESTIGATE IT HIMSELF. AT THE TOP OF THE HILL ROBERT SAW TWO AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN WALKING UP TOWARDS THE ROAD AND AWAY FROM THE CAR. 

ROBERT THOUGHT THERE COULD HAVE BEEN AN ACCIDENT SO HE ASKED THE MEN IF ANYONE HAD BEEN HURT. ONE OF THE MEN SAID NO AND SAID THEY HAD BEEN THE ONLY ONES IN THE CAR.

SO ROBERT OFFERED TO DRIVE THE MEN BACK TO THE MAIN ROAD BUT THE TWO MEN REFUSED AND CONTINUED ON FOOT. 

MIND YOU THIS IS NOVEMBER IN WEST VIRGINIA AND WE ALL KNOW HOW COLD IT GETS THE SECOND THE SUN GOES DOWN. SO WHY THESE MEN REFUSED TO GET INTO A TRUCK TO HELP THEM GET AWAY FROM THE SCENE OF THE BURNING CAR QUICKER BLOWS MY MIND. 


HOWEVER WHEN ROBERT THIS ENCOUNTER TO POLICE HE DESCRIBED THE MEN AS AFRICAN AMERICAN AGES AROUND 19 TO 20 YEARS OLD. ROBERT DESCRIBED ONE OF THE MEN WEARING WHAT HE CALLED ARMY PANTS, ARMY JACKET HIS HEIGHT WAS AROUND 6FT HIS COMPLEXION WAS MEDIUM AND HE HAD A SLIGHT STUTTER HE ALSO NOTICED HE HAD A SQUARE FACED DIVERS WATCH WITH A WIDE BAND AND BLACK BOOTS. NOT WHAT STOOD OUT TO HIM ABOUT THESE BOOTS IS THAT THE RIGHT BOOTS SOLE WAS BUILT UP 3 TO 4 INCHES HIGHER THAN THE LEFT BOOT. 


ROBERT DESCRIBED THE OTHER MAN AS 5FT 6IN TALL WITH A STOCKY BUILD A BLACK LEATHER CAP WITH BUILT IN EARMUFFS AND AN AFRO HAIRSTYLE. 


WITH THE ACCOUNTS GIVEN BY THE SALESMAN, TRUCK DRIVERS, AND ROBERT POLICE THINK THAT THE DESCRIPTION OF THE MEN SEEM TO BE A PERFECT MATCH HOWEVER THE DESCRIPTIONS OF THE MEN WERE STILL TOO VAGUE TO RELEASE COMPOSITE SKETCHES. 


ALONG WITH THIS POLICE FOUND IT HARD TO PUT TOGETHER A PERFECT TIMELINE OF SUZIE’S DAY 


LIKE WE SAID EARLIER SUZIE WAS LAST SEEN AROUND NOON AT THE AMOCO SERVICE STATION IN BEAVER.


2 HOURS LATER SUZIE’S CAR AND A WOMAN THOUGHT TO BE SUZIE WAS SEEN IN THE RALEIGH MALL BECKLEY PLAZA AREA OF BECKLEY ROUGHLY 6 MILES AWAY. 

SIDE NOTE LIKE WE SAID IN THE EPISODE OF MARGIE DODD THIS AREA HAS BASICALLY NOT CHANGED AND THE BANK MARGIE WORKED AT WAS IN THE SAME AREA SO IT’S STILL EXACTLY JUST 6 MILES AWAY FROM THE SERVICE STATION. 


30 MINUTES LATER SUZIE’S VEHICLE WAS SPOTTED ON MINDEN DRIVE NEAR THE CONCHO TRASH DUMP. 


FROM WHERE SUZIE’S CAR WAS DUMPED AND WHERE HER BODY WAS DUMPED WERE 10 MILES AWAY FROM EACH OTHER. I THINK THIS IS WHAT REALLY STUMPED POLICE IN THE INVESTIGATION. HOW DID THEY GET HER FROM POINT A WHICH WOULD BE MINDEN DRIVE TO POINT B WHICH WOULD BE PLUM ORCHARD LAKE?


TO ME IF SUZIE’S CAR WAS TAKEN TO PLUM ORCHARD LAKE PEOPLE WOULD HAVE SAW IT. I MEAN SCARBRO IS A VERY POPULATED AREA WHERE HOUSES ARE ALL AROUND AND TO GET ON THE INTERSTATE YOU HAVE TO GO BY HOUSES NO MATTER WHAT WAY YOU GO. 


THE MORE SUZIE’S FAMILY AND FRIENDS PRESSED FOR QUESTIONS THEY BEGAN STARTING TO RECEIVE THREATENING PHONE CALLS AND LETTERS MAILED TO THEM. THE CALLS AND LETTERS BASICALLY ALL CARRIED THE SAME MESSAGE LEAVE THE MATTER ALONE OR YOUR YOUNGER DAUGHTER SHARON’S LIFE WILL BE IN DANGER.


WITH TIME THE CASE LOST THE MEDIA ATTENTION AND FEARFUL FOR THE THREATS TO SHARON THELMA, HOMER, AND BRUCE STAYED AS QUIET AS THEY COULD ABOUT SUZIE’S CASE. 


IN JULY OF 1974 BRUCE MARRIED ROBERTA AYERS AND BECAME A METHODIST MINISTER. IN 1989 WHEN ANGELA MARRIED BRUCE LIT A SINGLE CANDLE IN HONOR AN SUZIE.

 

SADLY THE INVESTIGATION INTO THE MURDER OF PATRICIA SUE BROGAN RICHMOND WENT COLD AND HAS YET TO BE SOLVED. 




IF YOU OR ANYONE YOU KNOW HAS ANY INFORMATION ON THE MURDER OF PATRICIA SUE RICHMOND, PLEASE CALL CRIME STOPPERS AT (304)255-STOP. THAT’S (304)255-7867.

YOU CAN EVEN SUBMIT A TIP AT WWW.CRIMESTOPPERSOFRALEIGHCOUNTY.COM OR ON THE P3 APP. 

YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO GIVE YOUR NAME AND ARE ABLE TO SUBMIT ANONYMOUSLY.


4 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comentarios


bottom of page