Sunday, October 11, 2009

Paralegal Pens 'This Night Wounds Time'

This Night Wounds Time: The Mysterious Disappearances of Stacy Madison and Susan Smalley is a recently released self-published non-fiction/true crime book by Shawn Sutherland, a Dallas TX area paralegal who has worked in patent law for 16 years.

Madison and Smalley were seniors at Newman Smith High School in Carrollton TX when they disappeared on March 20, 1988. Sutherland, a 1982 graduate of Newman Smith, was home on break during his last semester at Abilene Christian University when he heard police were searching for two missing Newman Smith Students.

Sutherland didn't pay a lot of attention to the case until he returned home a few months later and saw one of the many missing posters that were plastered all over Carrollton. He recognized Susan Smalley, the restaurant hostess 'whose smile and friendly conversation made him forget his worries about grades, tests, graduation and the hope of finding a job.'

“Staring back at me from that piece of paper was a blonde I did not recognize. The other face, though, I knew instantly,” Sutherland wrote in the first chapter. “The smile was unmistakable. It was the same one that had lifted my spirits that freezing cold night earlier in the year.”

Sutherland's chance restaurant encounter with Susan Smalley left such a lasting impression on him that he felt compelled to write the story of her still unsolved disappearance. He researched all available information and newspaper articles and also interviewed Susan and Stacie's families and friends.

While he admits he hasn't solve the mystery, it is Sutherland's goal to focus attention on their story in the hope that someone somewhere will remember something that will lead to the apprehension of the person responsible for their disappearance. He went the self-publishing route and is selling the book at cost, meaning he will make no profit.
“Somebody out there knows what happened to these girls. Somebody knows where they are. I think it’s obscene they’ve been missing this long,” he said. “My thoughts are parallel with the officer I interviewed. He would just like to have a little closure for the family. That would be my reward.”
As for the title of the book, Sutherland offers this poignant explanation:
Time is ultimately that place within the human psyche where hopes regarding the future, concerns for the present, and memories of things past reside in tandem. If ever there was a night in which time was forever wounded, it was the night on which Stacie Madison and Susan Smalley disappeared.

The girls’ community has never been the same and, in the 21 years that have elapsed since March 20, 1988, Stacie’s and Susan’s families have existed in the inescapable shadow of a mystery that remains unsolved.Their lives are unjustly and irrevocably altered by the unexplained events of that night.
Information on how to purchase the book can be found at (Source Carollton Leader Star; article by Senitra Horbrook)

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