Suzanne Lyall disappeared 25 years ago

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BALLSTON SPA – Mary Lyall is celebrating her birthday, but it’s always bittersweet. It was on her birthday 25 years ago that she last heard her daughter’s voice.

UAlbany student Suzanne Lyall, 19, got off a bus at Collins Circle at about 9:45pm after working at Crossgates and disappeared. That was March 2, 1998.

“So that was the last time I spoke to her was on my birthday. I heard not until March 3 that she had gone missing because her boyfriend never called,” said Mary Lyall.

The lives of her Ballston Spa family were turned upside down.

“I know, I know, and I’m sure everybody who will hear this will probably say the same thing: it’s 25 years, give it up,” she said. “But you can’t move forward until you have some kind of answers.”

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Suzanne’s parents, Mary and Doug, never imagined how long they’d be searching.

“Doug had spoken to a woman whose child had been missing for 15 or 16 years, and he said, ‘Oh, I can’t even imagine that,” Mary said. “Now it’s 25! You just think how hard it is.”

Thrust into a nightmare, through the years, the Lyalls have helped many other families of the missing through their Center for HOPE.

There is federal legislation now in Suzanne’s name to protect children.

Her parents worked tirelessly to keep Suzanne’s name and face out there, hoping someone will come forward with information.

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“But sometimes people wait until many years later before they’ll tell you anything. I said I don’t know how long I can wait. I can’t wait much longer, and I need to know,” Mary said. “Doug unfortunately didn’t know.”

Mary’s husband Doug passed away eight years ago.

Susie was very bright. Her mother is now publishing a collection of Suzanne’s poems.

She is realistic, but she has hope, and says she can’t move forward until she gets answers.

“I don’t call it anything more than a resolve, because at least we’ll know where she is, but we won’t know what happened to her, and you always have that hole in your heart. It’ll never heal.”

New investigators keep working the case. Mary hopes someone, somewhere, will come forward with information.

“I just need to know. It’s just so difficult to every night go to bed and say, ‘Okay, what have I forgotten today?’ I try to every night, just a little piece of the puzzle. There’s another piece that I’m missing. Where is it?”

There will be a moment of silence at the Factory in Ballston Spa Thursday night, March 2, at 5 p.m. and the bell will ring 25 times – once for every year that Suzanne has been missing.

Anyone with any information about the disappearance of Suzanne Lyall is asked to call New York State Police at (518) 783-3212 or submit an anonymous tip to the FBI.