1. News & Issues
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Susan Smith - Narcissistic Delusions

Rejected Love Fueled the Murder of the Smith Children


Michael and Alexander Smith

Michael and Alexander Smith

Family Photo

Nice Girls Don't Sleep With Married Men

On October 17, 1994, just days before David and Susan's divorce papers were filed, Tom Findlay sent a "Dear John" letter to Susan. His reasons for wanting to end their relationship included the differences in their backgrounds. He was also emphatic about not wanting children or wanting to raise her children. He encouraged Susan to act with more self respect, and referred to an episode when Susan and a friend's husband were kissing each other in a hot tub during a party at Tom's father's estate.

Findlay wrote, "If you want to catch a nice guy like me one day, you have to act like a nice girl. And you know, nice girls don't sleep with married men."

Narcissistic Delusions

Susan was devastated when she read the letter, but she was also living out delusional dreams which in reality were a combination of grotesque lies, deceit, lust and narcissism. On one hand she was deeply depressed that Tom ended their relationship, but unknown to him, she was still sexually involved with David and her step-father, Bev Russell and had allegedly had a sexual affair with her boss who was Tom's father.

In an attempt to get Tom's sympathy and attention, Susan confessed to him about her ongoing sexual relationship with Bev. When that didn't work, she told him of her alleged affair with his father and warned him that the details of the relationship might come out during her divorce with David. Tom's reaction was one of shock and he reiterated that the two of them would never again have a sexual relationship. Any hopes to maneuver her way back into Tom's life had now been permanently severed.


On October 25, 1994, Susan Smith spent the day obsessing over the breakup with Tom Findlay. As the day progressed she became increasingly upset and asked to leave work early. After picking up her children from daycare, she stopped to talk to a friend in a parking lot and expressed her fears over Tom's reaction to her sleeping with his father. In a last ditch effort to sway Tom's feelings, she asked her friend to watch the children while she went to Tom's office to tell him the story was a lie. According to her friend, Tom did not appear happy to see Susan and quickly got her out of his office.

Later that evening she phoned her friend who she knew was having dinner with Tom and friends. Susan wanted to know if Tom had said anything about her, but he had not.

The Murder of Michael and Alex Smith

At around 8 p.m. Susan put her barefooted sons in the car, strapped them in their car seats and began driving around. In her confession she stated that she wanted to die and was headed to her mother's house, but decided against it. Instead she drove to John D. Long Lake and drove onto a ramp, got out of the car, put the car in drive, released the brake and watched as her car, with her children sleeping in the back seat, plunged into the lake. The car drifted out a ways then slowly sank.

Nine Days of Deceit

Susan Smith ran to a nearby home and hysterically knocked on the door. She told the homeowners, Shirley and Rick McCloud, that a black man had taken her car and her two boys. She described how she had stopped at a red light at Monarch Mills, when a man with a gun jumped into her car and told her to drive. She drove around some, and then he told her to stop and get out of the car. At that point he told her he wouldn't hurt the kids and then drove off with the boys who she could hear were crying out for her.

For nine days Susan Smith stuck the story of being abducted. Friends and family surrounded her in support and David had returned to his wife's side as the search for their children intensified. The national media showed up in Union as the tragic story of the boys abduction circulated. Susan, with her face spotted with tears, and David looking distraught and desperate, made a public plea for the safe return of their sons. In the meantime, Susan's story was beginning to unravel.

Unraveling the Truth

Sheriff Howard Wells, the lead investigator on the case, had David and Susan polygraphed. David passed, but Susan's results were inconclusive. Throughout the nine days of the investigation Susan was given numerous polygraphs and questioned about the inconsistencies in her carjacking story.

One of the biggest clues that led the authorities to believe Susan was lying was her story about stopping at a red light on Monarch Mills Road. She stated that she saw no other cars on the road, yet the light turned red. The light on Monarch Mills was always green and only turned red if it was triggered by a car on the cross street. Since she said that there were no other cars on the road, there was no reason for her to come up to a red light.

Leaks to the press about discrepancies in Susan's story resulted in accusatory questions by reporters. Also, people around her noticed her displaying questionable behavior for a mother whose children were missing. She seemed overly concerned with how she looked in front of the television cameras and at times asked about the whereabouts of Tom Findlay. She also had dramatic moments of deep sobbing, but would be dried eyed and tearless.

Susan Smith Confesses

On November 3, 1994, David and Susan appeared on CBS This Morning and David voiced his full support of Susan and her story about the abduction. After the interview Susan met with Sheriff Wells for another interrogation. This time however, Wells was direct and told her that he did not believe her story about the carjacking. He explained to her about the light on Monarch Mills staying green and discrepancies in other adaptations she had made to her story during the past nine days.

Exhausted and emotionally badgered, Susan asked Wells to pray with her then afterwards she began crying and telling how ashamed she felt for what she had done. Her confession to pushing the car into the lake began to spill out. She said she had wanted to kill herself and her children, but in the end, she got out of the car and sent her boys to their deaths.

Next > The Trial

  1. About.com
  2. News & Issues
  3. Crime
  4. Historical Crimes
  5. Infamous Murders
  6. Susan Smith - Profile of a Child Killer

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.