BY GREG HITCHCOCK
The cold case of Suzanne Lyall, a local University at Albany student who was abducted in 1998, will be profiled on the NBC show Disappeared. The show airs on Discovery ID on Monday March 19 at 9 pm.
According to the FBI, Lyall was last seen on the evening of March 2, at approximately 9:20 p.m., as she left work at Crossgates Mall in Guilderland.
She was known to have boarded a Capital District Transit Authority bus heading to Collins Circle at the university, where she was a student. It is believed that she exited the bus at Collins Circle at approximately 9:45 p.m. and has not been seen since that time.
“Her story struck us as compelling,” Disappeared executive producer Elizabeth Fischer said. “This is the story of a wholesome life of a college student who vanished.”
Unfortunately there are all too many missing person stories to profile, Fischer said. The outcome is that the case may never be solved, she said, but these stories cast a light on law enforcement agencies to act.
“Families are grateful that we profile missing persons on the show,” Fischer said. “This often moves the case along and is a moving tribute to the vanished.”
Suzanne’s father, Doug Lyall of Ballston Spa, agreed.
“Any show increases awareness,” he said.
Lyall said the probability of her ever being found alive is not great, but if the show can move the case along in finding answers, he would be grateful.
“This is a whole different type of loss, an ambiguous loss,” he said.
“A family member passes away, we know how and why and we have a ceremony,” Lyall said. “Closure is not available when they go missing. Even when you find out they are not alive, we can get answers.”
Students on campus are very vulnerable when left unsupervised and it is a crucial time for them in which they still need a lot of protection, he said.
“This is when they are just spreading their wings,” Lyall said.
He said a lot of law enforcement agencies don’t take missing persons reports seriously enough and it was up to parents and families to advocate passing legislation that will protect students by increasing penalties for people who abduct, murder, and rape.
Lyall said he and his wife Mary are both committed to helping others with missing persons and help prevent catastrophic things from happening.
“This is what Suzanne would have wanted,” he said.