On March 2, 1998 Suzanne Lyall or Suzy, to her friends and family, was a sophomore in college studying computer science at the University of Albany. She was just shy of her 20th birthday.
She took her midterms that Monday, worked her part time job at Babbage’s at The Crossgate’s Mall and then took a bus back to campus. A student observed her exiting the bus around 9:45 PM. Suzy was never seen again.
When the idea for “Upstate Unsolved” was bounced around between myself, WGY Reporter Phoebe LaFave, and Executive Producer and WGY News Anchor Diane Donato, the disappearance of Suzanne Lyall was one of the first cases we knew we wanted to highlight.
Little did we know that The College of Saint Rose was about to announce their Cold Case Analysis Center, a one year internship that allows students majoring in criminal justice or forensic fields to investigate cold cases in the Capital Region.
And their first case? The disappearance of Suzanne Lyall.
I attended the center’s press conference on November 2, 2018 and was astounded with what this program had to offer. Suzanne’s mother, Mary Lyall was among the speakers and I made contact with her afterwards to set up a time to speak with her about her daughter’s disappearance.
One week later, I was four hours deep into a conversation with Mary. I had no idea the scope of Suzy’s case. The sparsity of evidence and the abundance of questions. I truly thought we would only spend one to two episodes on the disappearance of Suzanne Lyall, but after our conversation I knew that in order to fully tell her story, I would have to dive deep into her case; unravelling 21 years of memories and information.
And then I met with Dr. Lane, the Director of the Cold Case Analysis Center and she proposed an idea: A partnership between the center and iHeartRadio Albany.
From there, “Upstate Unsolved” was born. Our goal is to shed light on who Suzy really was. For too long she has been shadowed by her own disappearance.
In Episode 1: A New Beginning we lay the groundwork for this season. We talk to Suzy’s mother Mary about Suzy and the days that followed her disappearance. We discuss The Center for Hope, the non-profit set up by Suzy’s parents that advocates for missing children and their families. And we highlight how The Cold Case Analysis Center at The College of Saint Rose came about and what it aims to do.
Episode 1 will be released on March 2 and subsequent episodes will be released Thursdays. Tune in to News Radio 810 & 103.1 WGY on March 2 at 5:00PM to hear Episode 1 broadcast over the air.
All episodes will be available on the iHeartRadio App and everywhere podcasts are available.
Listen to the trailer for "Upstate Unsolved" below. -Phoebe LaFave