On the morning of Sunday, September 13, 1992, 27-year old Susan Taraskiewicz was working an overnight shift at one of the country’s busiest airports. She was the Baggage Supervisor for Northwest Airlines at Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts. Earlier in her shift, Susan offered to go pick up sandwiches for some of her overnight crew members. She pulled away from the airport grounds in her sky blue Toyota Tercel sometime around midnight.
The next morning on Monday, September 14, a manager for Bravo Automotive, located almost 4 miles from Logan Airport in the town of Revere, headed into work around 7:30. He noticed a vehicle in the service center’s parking lot with what appeared to be blood dripping from the trunk. When police arrived they discovered the brutally beaten body of a young woman inside the trunk of a sky blue Toyota Tercel. It was Susan Taraskiewicz.
Police first thought Susan’s murder to be a random act of violence, but soon the investigation revealed a much deeper conspiracy. Was Susan a target? It’s been nearly 30 years since Susan’s murder and nobody has been held responsible, but investigators believe somebody out there knows what happened.
I’m Kylie Low and this is the case of Susan Taraskiewicz on Dark Downeast.
If you have any information about the 1992 murder of Susan Taraskiewicz, please contact the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit for Suffolk County at 1-617-727-8817.
Susan Taraskiewicz, often called Su, grew up in Saugus, Massachusetts, with her sister, brother, and her parents, Ron and Marlene. Her friends and family say she was feisty, but also just as warm and compassionate.
In her high school years, she loved roller skating, running track, and art. She was remembered as a kind and quiet student at Saugus High School, where she graduated in 1983. She had a love for the Charles Shulz character Snoopy and collected memorabilia that filled her bedroom. She herself was an aspiring cartoonist. She briefly attended art school in Boston and even flew to San Francisco to meet Charles Schulz himself.
Susan ultimately landed a job with Northwest Airlines. Although she was often challenged as a woman in the male-dominated airline industry, Susan never shied away from advocating for herself and her abilities. However, the treatment she reportedly endured while employed there was brutal.
Throughout her employment with Northwest Airlines, Susan was repeatedly subjected to harassment by male coworkers. Matthew Brelis wrote in The Boston Globe that there were times she was verbally accosted. There were obscene drawings plastered inside the cargo compartments of the planes, Brelis reported. She’d found a drawing on her locker of a coffin. Her name was written on it. Her car had also been vandalized in the parking lot while she was at work.
In another piece for The Boston Globe, staff writer Tom Coakley reported that Susan filed a formal complaint with her union in early 1992, claiming “unfair treatment in the awarding of supervisory assignments” after she was passed over for a promotion in favor of a lesser qualified male coworker. When Susan was eventually promoted to Baggage Supervisor, she became the first female to ever hold that position for Northwest Airlines at Logan Airport.
Susan was a trailblazer for women in the airline industry. According to her mother, Marlene, in an interview with Mark E. Vogler of The Saugus Advocate, Susan had also tested to become a firefighter and had recently joined the reserve list of firefighters for the town of Swampscott. Susan was planning for her future. And while she made sure her options included not only Northwest Airlines, Susan was clearly not intimidated by the idea of entering into other male-dominated industries.
It was reported that just before Susan left to pick up sandwiches for her coworkers on the night before her disappearance, she received a phone call. In The Bangor Daily News, Jay Lindsay reported that no one knows who was on the other end of the line but Marlene believes her daughter was going to meet whoever called but that she wouldn’t have gone alone.
Susan was never seen alive again.
Episode Source Material
- In Revere, body found in car trunk by Cheong Chow, The Boston Globe, 15 Sep 1992
- Airline’s employees scrutinized in murder probe, credit-card case by John Ellement and Matthew Brelis, The Boston Globe, 17 Sep 1992
- Murder victim’s friends recall last months filled with change by Tom Coakley and Chris Reidy, The Boston Globe, 20 Sep 1992
- Slay victim complained to union at airline by Tom Coakley, The Boston Globe, 22 Sep 1992
- Northwest offers $10,000 reward in hunt for airline worker’s killer by John Ellement, The Boston Globe, 05 Jan 1993
- Logan theft ring link to murder eyed by Kevin Cullen & Jordana Hunt, The Boston Globe, 30 Sep 1993
- Workers say complaints ignored, North Adams Transcript, 18 Nov 1994
- MCAD allows claim of bias to stand for slain woman by Matthew Brelis, The Boston Globe, 06, Dec 1994
- Ex-airline worker admits role in Logan credit card fraud ring by Judy Rakowsky, The Boston Globe, 13 May 1995
- MCAD: Airline worker harassed, North Adams Transcript, 30 May 1995
- MCAD: Airline ignored worker by Associated Press, The Boston Globe, 31 May 1995
- Taraskiewicz’s friends remember, The Boston Globe, 27 Aug 1995
- Airline settles sex-bias charge by Matthew Brelis, The Boston Globe, 28 Oct 1995
- Keeping a murder case alive by Judy Rakowsky, The Boston Globe, 14 Sep 1996
- Plea may aid probe into ’92 slaying by Patricia Nealon, The Boston Globe, 24 Oct 1998
- UNITED STATES of America, Appellant, v. Robert BROOKS, Defendant, Appellee.
- Mom keeps murder case alive by Jay Lindsay, Bangor Daily News, 09 Sep 2002
- Mother, DA still searching for killer by Peter DeMarco & Kathleen Burge, The Boston Globe, 13 Sep 2002
- Mother keeps vigil for slain daughter by Shelley Murphy, The Boston Globe, 13 Sep 2009
- A mother’s mission by Mark E. Vogler, The Saugus Advocate, 22 Sep 2017
- Nearly 3 decades since Susan Taraskiewicz was murdered in 1992 in Boston, her mom continues to push for justice, Inside Edition, 29 Aug 2021
- Remarks of Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley on the 20th anniversary of the murder of Susan Taraskiewicz, Suffolk County District Attorney Press Release, 12 Sep 2012