Real Name: Susan Taraskiewicz
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Date: September 14, 1992
Details: Twenty-seven-year-old Su Taraskiewicz was a Northwest Airlines ramp supervisor and only the second female ground service employee working for the airline. She was the first woman promoted to her supervisor position. On September 12, 1992, Su left work to go get food for her coworkers and vanished. On September 14, her body was found stuffed in her trunk, parked at a nearby auto body shop. She had been stabbed multiple times and beaten to death. At first, her family assumed that she was the victim of a random act of violence until in late 1993, her mother Marlene found her diary and was shocked at what was written in it. It told of sexual harassment, threatening graffiti in men's room and cargo holds, and other incidents that had occurred to her while working for Northwest Airlines. Marlene was certain that it had something to do with her murder.
In one incident in April of 1989, a coworker named Bobby damaged her radio twice. Su asked her boyfriend to talk to Bobby about getting her a new radio. When she spoke to Bobby again, he threatened to kill her boyfriend. She filed several complaints to the airline and her union, but little was done about it. After she filed the reports, the harassment worsened; she received several anonymous phone calls, with the caller threatening to hurt her. Also, on several occasions, her and her boyfriend's cars were vandalized. Friends and co-workers who supported her also had their cars vandalized.
Su's diary only covered the first eight months of her time at Northwest. However, several co-workers reported that the discrimination and harassment continued. In February of 1992, she was promoted to ramp supervisor. Originally, another co-worker had received the job. However, Su learned that he had illegally bid for the job. She filed a grievance and won; as a result, she received the position. Shortly after her promotion, Su found a graffiti drawing of a coffin with her name on it in her locker. Despite this, she continued to work harder.
She and her co-worker, Deborah Mazeikus, were involved in a meeting with Northwest that did not go well. During the meeting, Su became upset and started to cry. Deborah was concerned about the emotional toll that the harassment was causing in Su's life. She told Deborah that she was scared, but did not elaborate on who she was scared of. Deborah believes that she was afraid for her life. The harassment continued, and then came September 12, when she mysteriously disappeared after leaving work to pick up food for her crew. Surprisingly, her co-workers did not report her missing for a day and a half.
When she was later found dead, police suspected that her death may have been connected to a federal investigation of Northwest Airlines that took place in the summer preceding her murder. Some of the baggage handlers working with her were operating a stolen credit card ring. When shipments of new cards were transported by Northwest jets, they would steal them and use them or sell them. Ten of them were later arrested and convicted, some of which were named by her in her diary.
Su's family later settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with Northwest Airlines. A $250,000 reward is being offered by her family for an arrest in the case, which remains open but unsolved.
Suspects: Before Susan left work on the night she vanished, around 1AM she received a telephone call from an unidentified person who wanted to meet her. Marlene believes that the call was from someone Su trusted, who lured her to a meeting with her killer.
Two prime suspects in the case are two of Su's coworkers: Joseph Nuzzo and Robert Brooks (also known as Bobby). Su had several problems with the two; Brooks had broken her radio for no apparent reason and later threatened her. Nuzzo also threatened her after she broke up a fight between him and another employee. As a result, he was suspended from work for six months. He blamed Su for this; during this time, he keyed her car, slashed her tires, staked out her house, made anonymous telephone calls, and told others that he would "exact revenge".
Shortly after Nuzzo returned to work, he and several other baggage handlers began to steal credit cards from mail bags air-freighted by Northwest. Brooks was also involved in the scam, using the cards with Nuzzo. In August of 1992, several baggage handlers were subpoenaed by a grand jury. Nuzzo allegedly believed that Su had told the police about the scheme. Two days later, he was fired. A few weeks after his firing, Su was found dead.
Nuzzo was later convicted on various charges related to the credit card scheme. Brooks moved out of the area prior to the murder; he cooperated with police and later pleaded guilty to theft and fraud charges. However, he was later charged with lying to a federal grand jury. He claimed that he was working in another state on the night of Su's murder and that he didn't talk to Nuzzo on the day of Su's murder. Both statements were proven false.
Nuzzo and Brooks remain suspects, along with Su's other co-workers at Northwest.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the February 9, 1996 episode. A fictionalized version of the case was featured on the show "Law and Order: Criminal Intent".
Results: Unsolved. Staff at Northwest Airlines refused an interview on the show, leaving a lot of questions of what led directly to Su's death. The case is still open and being investigated by law enforcement. Nuzzo and Brooks, along with several of Su's other coworkers, remain prime suspects in her murder. Each year, Su's family and friends hold a memorial service on the anniversary of her death.
Sadly, Su's father and brother have both since passed away.
- Su Taraskiewicz on Unsolved.com
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- Third Northwest Airlines employee admits guilt in credit-card thefts
- Northwest settles sex harassment suit
- Ex-airline worker charged in probe
- Murder Mystery: An Unsolved Slaying Of an Airline Worker Stirs Family to Action
- Slay probe witness accused of perjury
- United States v. Brooks (1998)
- Mother Hopes Daughter's Killer Found
- Mother holds hope she can help solve daughter's killing
- Authorities seek leads in 20-year-old unsolved slaying of Susan Taraskiewicz
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- Susan Taraskiewicz murder reviewed on 22nd anniversary
- Taraskiewicz Murder Still Fresh After All These Years
- Vigil Marks 25th Anniversary of Murder of Massachusetts Woman Susan Taraskiewicz
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- Su Taraskiewicz at Find a Grave