“It’s just the hardest part when you lose somebody.” Alex (Susan's daughter) said, her voice breaking. “All that pain, it’s still here.”
“Every day, I think about my mom,” he (Jared, Susan's son) said. “I say hi to her and tell her I love her.”
Jared wonders what his life would have looked like if his mother had never been murdered. He was only 9 years old when she disappeared. He has such fond memories of her - Eskimo kisses, being silly, and laughing together. He remembers that she used to have his school clothes laid out for him each morning on the edge of his bed when he woke up. It was tough for him and his sister growing up. They were able to stay with family but lived separately - Jared with a grandmother, and Alex with her aunts. Alex says that growing up separately changed their sibling relationship.
Alex, who was much younger at the time, had to learn about her mother through relatives and the few memories that brother Jared shared. She learned that Susan, or Suzy as friends and family called her, was an artist who attended school at the American Indian University in New Mexico. She was also left-handed. Susan was very active in her community. In 1974, she served on the Lakeland Board of Education, was secretary of the Flambeau Tribal Council, and held the title of Director of the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council Youth Services Program. Additionally she was home-school coordinator of the Flambeau Grade School and a member of the Tribal Education Committee.
At only 29 years of age, Susan was a devoted mother of 2. So, when she didn't return home from a party on May 20th, 1990, her family knew something was terribly wrong. She was not a woman who would abandon her children.
The story of what happened to Susan Poupart that night is a little foggy, but there are a lot of rumors in the community. What we do know is that Suzy went to a party for someone going away in the military. At around 4:00 or 4:30 am, she was spotted getting into a car with two men. Some witnesses say she was forced into the car. According to law enforcement, Joe Cobb and Robert Elm said Suzy was with them in the car, but that they had an argument and they dropped her off at the local elementary school. Suspicion has also fallen on another man, Fritz Schuman, who reportedly bragged to community members that he was involved in her death. Six months after she disappeared, Suzy's body was found on Thanksgiving, 1990 in Chequamegon National Forest of Price County. Along with her remains were duct tape and plastic, a clear effort to hide her murder. Law enforcement believes that Suzy was also sexually assaulted.
No one has ever been charged with Susan's death. Many people in the community have come forward with information, but many later recant. Police believe that someone, if not many people, know what happened to Susan. DNA testing remains a possibility using evidence collected from the crime scene.
If you know something about Susan's death, please contact the Vilas County Sheriff’s Office at (800) 472-7290 and ask for Lieutenant Carl Gauger or Sheriff Joe Fath. There is a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of her murderer. Susan was a member of the Lac Du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa from Wisconsin.