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It was the summer of love… 1967.
Seattle was simultaneously the center of the known universe and on the very edge of something spectacular.
Seattle’s own Jimi Hendrix had just released his second album, Are You Experienced?
The city had its first “Be In,” a protest to mourn the loss of a coffee shop and bookstore beloved by the peace, love and happiness crowd.
And, the nightly carnival at Seattle Center still held the shimmer of excitement that first arose during the building of the Space Needle for the World’s Fair.
It was an excitement that would’ve been intoxicating for a young woman from Spokane who’d just moved to the big city.
Someone like Susan Galvin. At 20 years old, she’d left her family home in Spokane just a few months earlier, landing a job as a records clerk for the Seattle Police Department.
It was the graveyard shift. But, she didn’t seem to mind the late night walk to work. She was new in town and was glad to have found steady employment. And, a respectable job at that. Which also afforded Susan plenty of free time to do what she enjoyed best: hanging out with friends at Seattle Center.
There were carnival rides, games of chance, food and music from all over the world. There was even a clown who was hired to saunter the 74 acre grounds, making balloon animals and keeping everyone smiling.
Susan lived just a few blocks away. In fact, she was such a regular at the downtown venue that she’d become friends with the clown and was seen walking around with him on several occasions, possibly even holding hands.
The last time they were seen together was just hours before Susan’s disappearance on a warm summer night in July.
Her body would be found days later in an elevator at Seattle Center. Susan had been attacked and strangled, and the clown had abruptly quit without explanation. Was there something sinister hiding behind that painted smile?
Without any real evidence or witnesses, the case went cold.
It was more than 50 years later, when new scientific techniques and a citizen sleuth with a tenacious appetite for justice would finally give Susan’s family the answers they’d been searching for for so many years.
But, was it the clown? Were they right all those years ago? Had the killer slipped through their fingers?