Episode 112

Who Killed Susan Morrissey Ledyard?

October 18, 2021   Tags: , , , ,
Apple Podcasts
50-year -old English teacher Susan Morrissey Ledyard was texting with friends and family until 2:47 AM on July 23rd, 2019. Her car left home in Wilmington, Delaware, shortly after 3 AM. Four hours later her body was discovered in Brandywine Creek. Her murder remains unsolved.   

Leading Up to the Murder:
50-year-old Susan Morrissey-Ledyard taught English at the Academy Park High School in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania for thirteen years. Susan had a close knit group of friends and was very close to her family. Every summer they vacationed in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. Susan’s mother has a beach house there. She’d just returned home from that vacation on July 20th. 

Two days later, on Monday, July 22nd, 2019, Ben went to a movie with a friend around 8 PM. When he got home, Susan was on the back porch. She was drinking wine and texting on her phone. He joined her for a short while. 

Then he told her they should head to bed. He didn’t want to stay up too late because the Rolling Stones concert was the next night. Ben turned in around 11 PM. Susan stayed up. 

She was still texting her sister Missy until 12:29 AM. The two chatted about a Facebook friend and a former roommate of Susan’s. There was a news story that she thought was about the roommate. Susan had sent Missy several messages about it asking her sister if it looked like her roommate. 

Susan continued to text and call friends until 2:47 AM. Police haven’t released who the last calls and texts were to. But 15 minutes after her last phone activity, Susan’s car left her house on Riverview Avenue. The black 2016 Honda Civic could be seen on surveillance backing out of the driveway, but it was too dark to see who was driving or if there were any passengers. 

The car then turned north onto Pennsylvania Avenue. Two minutes later it drove across Rising Sun Road Bridge. Then, at 3:04 AM, the vehicle parked at Walkers Mill Road. It was then the headlights were turned off. The area isn’t well lit. 

At 7:39 AM on July 23rd, a construction worker was on the  Northeast Boulevard Bridgeover which goes over Brandywine Creek. It was there he discovered Susan’s body.

The Murder:
The full autopsy hasn’t been released. But Susan’s death was ruled a homicide. Her cause of death was blunt force trauma and drowning. Our friends Kelly McLear and Melissa McCarty at the Killer Genes podcast looked into the case. During their coverage, it was stated Susan’s body had only been in the water for maybe thirty minutes. 

Law enforcement said there were visible injuries to Susan’s body, but they didn’t go into detail what these injuries were. Delaware State Police Detective Dan Grassi told the Delco Times, “I can’t get into the nature of the injuries, the location or anything like that, but let’s just say that the type of injures weren’t consistent with an accident and her behavior leading up to the morning she was found wasn’t consistent with suicide.” 

Law enforcement was still processing the scene when a call came into dispatch. This one was for a suspicious vehicle. At 8:54 AM, a pedestrian called in the 2016 Honda Civic. It was partially blocking the road at Walkers Mill. The car was three miles upstream from where her body had been discovered nearly 90 minutes earlier. 

Police arrived on scene. Inside the car was Susan’s purse and phone. Her school ID was hanging on it’s lanyard over the passenger seat. Authorities did not release information to the media or public if anything else was discovered. Investigators did say that when the car was turned on, the windshield wipers turned on--leading them to believe that at the time someone was last in the car it was raining. 

The weather reports of that night say that it didn’t start raining until 3:53 AM that night--fifty minutes after Susan had parked the car there. Then it rained for the next hour before tapering off.

The Investigation:

Shortly, after 9 AM--having recovered both Susan’s body and car--law enforcement went to her home. The police’s knocking woke Ben Ledyard up. He told the officers he didn’t even know Susan was missing. 

Ben had a slightly different story when he talked to Susan’s family. He said when he got home from the movies, his friend hung out for about 20 minutes at the house. Then he and Susan shared half a bottle of wine. Ben then added they each took their sleep aids--his was Lunesta, Susan’s was Ambien. 

Then the two went to bed. When he woke up, Ben said there was a broken wine glass on the back deck. This added detail is small, but it stuck with Missy. She’s seen her sister’s toxicology report. There was alcohol present but no trace of Ambien. Authorities said Ben has been fully cooperative.

Authorities also got the data from Susan’s FitBit, which gave a clearer timeline of how active Susan was. Because Susan’s phone was left in her car, the device wouldn’t give them her location. But they could track her heartbeat and the amount of steps she took. Her heartbeat was present on the tracker until 7 AM. 

45 minutes before the heartbeat stopped, the rate increased. The device isn’t specific as to why--could be running, fighting, etc. The step activity only counted for less than a mile. Which is far from the three miles where her body was recovered.

Law enforcement tried to figure out how Susan’s body could have gotten to where it was discovered. Brandywine Creek had too many obstructions. The water was too shallow. It was nearly impossible for her body to have floated in that amount of time. 

The area where her body was discovered is heavily trafficked by joggers and walkers in the morning. 

But aside from the foot traffic, the area also had several condo buildings. Most of which had views of the creek. So someone inside one of them may have seen something. 

In late 2020, Lauren “El” Cho moved from New Jersey to California for a fresh start. She was excited to find work as a pastry chef. A passion she shared regularly with her baked treats on her Instagram. 

In late June 2021, El and her friends--including her ex-boyfriend--took a trip to Joshua Tree. The friends were staying at an AirBnB in Yucca Valley. According to her friends, El was upset and walked away from their location on June 28th around 5:30 PM. She left behind her personal belongings. 

When she hadn’t returned within just a few hours, her ex-boyfriend reported her missing to the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department. He told law enforcement El was under “mental distress.” But the family on their Facebook page has asked people to refrain from discerning what El’s mental health was when she disappeared. 

Her friends searched everywhere, even as far as San Diego. El had mentioned wanting to go there. Authorities have done land and aerial searches. They served a search warrant on July 31st on the Benmar Trail home where El and her friends stayed in June. Currently Morongo Basin Sheriff and San Bernardino Sheriff have no leads on El’s whereabouts.

50-year-old Susan Morrissey-Ledyard was murdered in the early morning hours of July 23rd, 2019. Her car was located on Walker Mill Road and her body was discovered in Brandywine Creek by Northeast Boulevard Bridge--roughly three miles apart. She left her home a little after 3 AM. It is unknown why she left. 

Police are hoping someone may know why she chose to leave the house. They are also specifically for someone who saw Susan between 3 and 7 AM along the Brandywine Creek. She was 5’4” and 130 pounds. She had shoulder-length brown hair and was wearing a purple tank top. 

And the missing person we just talked about--Lauren “El” Cho. Lauren walked away from a home on the 8600 block of Benmar Trail in Yucca Valley on June 28th around 5:30 PM. She hasn’t been seen or heard from since. El is 5’3” and weighs 110 pounds. She is Korean American. She has black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a yellow t-shirt and jean shorts. 

If you have any information on either case, please contact us.


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As tips come in, Jensen and Holes will work to verify them. If they look good, we will publish them here to try and get us closer to their names.