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Case of missing California teen Susan Bender re-opened 36 years later

More than three decades after a Modesto, California teen disappeared, her cold case is getting a fresh look.

And police are asking for the public's help to finally give her family closure.

Susan Bender was last heard from by her friend Sandie Silveria 36 years ago, reports CBS Sacramento.

"She doesn't deserve to be forgotten. We need answers," said Silveria who posted to social media for years, hoping to find new leads.

"She had this electric personality about her," Silveria recalled.

Bender, who was 15 at the time, was last seen at a Modesto bus station in 1986.

"I said, 'OK. Let me know you're OK when you get there,' and I never heard from her again," Silveria told CBS Sacramento.

Modesto police investigators re-opened the case in the hope that new technology and will answer old questions.

"Where is she, what happened to her, and whoever did this, they be held accountable," said Silveria. "The hope of her being found alive is not something you can realistically look at, but the hope of justice being done for her, the hope of this is what happened, and she deserves justice is, I think, what would make us feel a little bit better," she said.

CBS Sacramento last spoke to Bender's mother in 2012, when there was speculation that the serial killer duo known as "the speed freak killers" could be connected to her daughter's disappearance. Those theories were never proven.

"I haven't quit after all these years. I never will," said Susan's mom, Patricia Chupco.

Silveria believes there is one person who has the answers.

"Her diary and personal belongings were found in someone else's home. Her mother truly thought that is the person who truly knows exactly what happened to Susan, and I agree," Silveria said.

Modesto Police wouldn't discuss any previous or current suspects in the case but Detective Josh Grant issued a statement saying, "Given the circumstances of the crime, we also believe there may be individuals (previously unidentified) who may have pertinent information surrounding Susan's disappearance."

Silveria hopes that re-opening the case could help solve it.

"I miss her, and I hope they get answers soon. I truly hope they put resources into this, and they take it seriously because there were people out here that loved her and cared about her," she said.

Police released an age progression image of Bender. The photo on the right is of Bender as a teen and the photo on the left is what she could look like now:

Susan Bender, of Modesto, California in 1986, right, and what she might look like now. Modesto (California) Police Department / CBS Sacramento
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