Susan Leigh Smith born September 26, 1971 is an American woman who was sentenced of killing her two children, three-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alexander.
Susan The case earned international attention because of Smith's wrong claim that a black man had kidnapped her sons during a carjacking. Her defense attorneys, David Bruck and Judy Clarke, called expert witnesses to confirm that she suffered from mental health problems that distorted her judgment when she committed the crimes.
On October 25, 1994, Susan Smith reported to police that her vehicle had been carjacked by a black man who drove away with her sons still inward. The composite sketch of the alleged carjacker, however was "too generic" in the sense that it interpreted half of the African-American men who lived in the society. For nine days, she made stunning requests on national television for the boys' safe return. However, following an intensive inquiry and a nationwide search for her children, she admitted on November 3, 1994 to letting her car roll into nearby John D. Long Lake, drowning them inside. Her enthusiasm was reported to stimulate a relationship with a regional wealthy man by the name of Tom Findlay. Before the murders, he sent Susan a letter ending their bond and conveying that he did not want children. She said that there was no motive nor did she plan the murders, asserting that she was not in a good state of mind. The later inquiry disclosed that investigators questioned Susan Smith's story from the start and believed that she murdered her sons. By the second day of the inquiry, the police suspected that she knew their territory and hoped that they were still alive. Detectives started to search the nearby lakes and ponds, including John D. Long Lake, where their bodies finally were found. Early water searches did not find the car because the police acknowledged it would be within 30 feet of the shore, and did not search further; it proved to be 122 feet from the shore.
After the boys had been missing for two days, Smith and her estranged husband David were subjected to a polygraph test. The enormous breakthrough of the case was her explanation of the carjacking location. She had contended that a traffic light had turned red causing her to stop at an otherwise vacant corner. However, it was determined that the light would not have swivelled red for her unless an automobile was present on the dividing road. This clashed with her statement that she did not see any other cars there when the carjacking took place.