Susan Leigh Vaughan Smith was a mother who killed her two sons to be able to have a relationship with a local wealthy man, but the man had no intention of forming a family. She let her two sons drown by allowing her 1990 Mazda Protegé to roll into the John D. Long Lake, drowning her two children that were strapped in. She lied to the police by saying a black man had carjacked her and drove away with her sons still in the car.
Susan Leigh Vaughan's father committed suicide when she was 6 years old. Her step-father abused and molested her. At 13, she attempted suicide. After graduating from high school in 1989, she made a second attempt. She could not handle rejection by men, a common trait of women abused by father figures. Rejection breaks down their world and tears them apart.
On October 25, 1994, Susan Smith came to someone's house claiming that she had been carjacked by a black man who stole her car and two sons. The case was a nationwide story. Michael Smith was 3 years old, his brother Alex was 1 year old.
David and Susan Smith and sheriff Howard Wells went on television begging for the children's return, not knowing their true fate.
Susan Smith had fallen in love with her supervisor at work, Tom Findlay, a wealthy businessman, and had an affair with him. This happened when David and Susan's marriage was in jeopardy and had already filed for divorce.
Newspaper man Gary Henderson noticed Susan Smith tried to make herself cry but could not and referred to her children in the past tense, making him suspicious. The police also suspected something sinister and put Smith on a lie detector. She continued to fail the question of if she knew where her children were. Smith kept changing her story about the carjacking.
State prosecutor Tommy Pope also didn't believe the story. Sheriff Wells questioned Susan, knowing she was lying. Susan asked him to pray with her. Wells appealed to her faith in God to get a confession. Nine days after the disappearance, she confessed to murdering her children.
David Smith was shocked by her confession, as they had stood side by side when they went on television begging for her sons' return.
On October 25, 1994, Findlay wrote to Susan, saying he didn't want children, especially children that weren't his. Susan wanted to marry him desperately, and decided to get rid of her children.
Going to John D. Long Lake and stopped the car at the ramp. With her children strapped in, she got out and took the car out of gear and let the car go roll into the lake.
The bodies' were found still strapped in their car seats when the 1990 Mazda was pulled out of the lake.
On July 27, 1995, Susan Smith was found guilty of two counts of murder. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison. David said he forgave her a long time ago for what she did and knows that she'll wake up everyday, living with the memory of drowning her children.
For David, the only way to let go of the pain is to find the strength inside oneself and find forgiveness instead of vengeance.