Teen Missing for Nearly 40 Years May Be Buried in Yosemite National Park

After almost four decades of investigation, a breakthrough may have emerged in the case of missing California teen Susan Robin Bender. Court documents suggest that the prime suspect, Raymond Lewis Stafford, might have confessed to burying her in Yosemite National Park.

On August 15, Stafford was arrested on suspicion of murdering Susan, who vanished when she was 15 years old. The last sighting of Susan was at the Modesto Greyhound station on April 25, 1986. While waiting there, she encountered an acquaintance and was later seen entering a green van voluntarily.

Detectives had long suspected foul play, and Stafford emerged as a person of interest early in the investigation. The green van he drove was traced back to him after an unrelated burglary arrest a month after Susan’s disappearance. It was revealed that Stafford had briefly worked with Susan’s mother, and there were indications that he might have formed a connection with Susan.

Susan Robin Bender

Decades later, in 1999, Susan’s clothes and diary were found in the possession of an unnamed man suspected by police. Recent court documents suggest that this individual was Stafford. On top of that, a woman who lived with Stafford in the 1980s reportedly claimed that he confessed to killing a “female” and burying her near the entrance to Yosemite National Park.

The arrest, which finally followed years of renewed investigation, occurred in Texas, where Stafford resided. He’s currently held on a murder charge in Van Zandt County and is expected to be extradited to California for trial. This sudden development provides a glimmer of hope for answers in a case that has haunted investigators for decades.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California


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