December 19, 2022 | By Joshua W. Rigdon
This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and a University of North Florida Journalism class.
Susie Lee Quinn’s children remember her as a caring and loving mother, saying her cooking was great and that her mac and cheese was some of the best. She treated everyone with love and care. Her children describe her as being a mother to the entire neighborhood. As such, it devastated the neighborhood when she died. Susie was murdered on July 25, 1986, in Macon County, Georgia. She was 28 years old.
Susie grew up in Macon County, where she attended high school. Susie was very smart, she graduated in the top 10% of her class. This was the same school that most of her family attended. She learned how to sew while in school, a skill she would use very often in her adult life. In her free time, Susie was always making something, whether through crocheting, sewing, or ceramics. As a young adult Susie made cabbage patch dolls to sell to the neighborhood children. She also used the sewing skills she learned in school to make some of the clothes her children wore, creating all their dress clothes.
On Friday, July 25, 1986, Susie Quinn dropped her children off with their dad so that she could meet her friend. Susie and her husband were separated, but her children said they were planning on getting back together. She told her kids that she would be by to pick them up the next morning. However, the next day came and went, and they still had not heard from their mother. By Sunday they were worried. Susie’s husband took the kids to her house to see if she was home. As they pulled up, they noticed all the lights were on and from outside, they heard the radio was on as well. Susie, however, was nowhere to be seen and there was no answer when they knocked on the door.
Her husband took Clarissa and Ricardo back to his house. Later that Sunday evening there was a knock at the door with a police officer asking for her husband. The officer was there to inform him that they believed they had found Susie. She had been found that day on a dirt road not very far from her home in Oglethorpe, Georgia. She had been stabbed multiple times.
Susie’s brother identified her body.
Ricardo said that when his mother’s funeral was held it seemed like everybody in town came. He was awestruck at just how many people cared about his mother and how it felt like the whole town was grieving her loss.
Macon County, Georgia was standard small-town America, where everybody knew everybody and always tried to help one another. Susie loved to make pottery, and often helped the wife of the sheriff who ran the local ceramics store. Susie had a love for many things, and plants were among the things she loved most. “She had hedges in the front yard that she loved. She would trim them into many shapes including a triangle shape,” said Ricardo Quinn. “She planted roses and took care of the trees. We had plum trees and a peach tree that my mother loved.” Susie loved to cook, often having her children in the kitchen doing their homework while she was cooking just so she knew they did it. She loved to make chicken gizzards and liver, and her son described her mac and cheese as “to die for.” She also loved to bake. Some of her specialties included plum cake, German chocolate cake and pineapple cake. She also loved to make banana pudding.
Clarissa Quinn-Turner, Susie’s daughter, said that “Neither I nor my brother ever had to want or ask for anything growing up”. Her mom did everything she could to make sure they had everything they needed. Susie was a friend to her two children, but her kids also knew she was their mother. “My mother was the type of person who would light up a room as soon as she stepped inside it,” said Clarissa Quinn-Turner. “She loved every holiday, but Mother’s Day was probably her favorite holiday, because she would dress really nice for church. The outfit that stands out the most in my memory is her in a red dress with a white blazer over the top and a flower in her blazer.”
Christmas was a close second on the list of favorite holidays, according to her son, Ricardo Quinn and Susie’s sister-in-law Edith Quinn. “She loved to decorate her house for Christmas,” said Edith Quinn. “I enjoyed spending time with her. We were very close to each other, and we always enjoyed each other. She loved her kids and made sure they had the best of everything.”
She worked at a few places, but the place her daughter remembers is Cooper Lighting, which made fluorescent lights. Clarissa also worked there for a time.
“My mother made sure to capture the important moments in our lives and knew how to make them special,” said Ricardo. “That is probably the thing I miss the most.”
“I miss having someone that I could talk to and go to for advice,” said Clarissa. “There are many things I wanted to learn from my mother, but did not have the opportunity because she was taken from us.”
When Susie was killed, Clarissa was 12 and Ricardo was 10.
Susie Quinn was only 28.
She never got to see her children become adults.
She never got to grow old.
Her family misses her every day and hopes to one day find out the truth about what happened that July night.
If you have any information on the unsolved murder of Susie Quinn, please contact the Georgia Bureau of Investigation at (800) 597-8477.
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