Cold Case: Three decades, no answers in slaying of Lynnwood woman

LYNNWOOD — There is no guarantee Gary Schwarz will ever learn the killer’s name.

Odds are he won’t, he said.

His big sister, Susan Schwarz was found dead Oct. 22, 1979 inside her small Lynnwood-area home. She’d been strangled and shot.

The killer has eluded police for three decades.

Year after year, waiting for justice can leave a man stretched thin on hope.

“We’d like to know what happened,” Gary Schwarz said. “We also have to be realistic. Some things don’t get answered and you have to live your life.”

The unsolved slaying is featured in the state’s first deck of cold-case playing cards. Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives created the cards in hopes of soliciting tips about stalled investigations. More than 3,000 decks have gone to the state’s prisons and jails. Inmates are being offered a reward for new leads.

Susan Schwarz, 24, is featured on the queen of hearts.

She may have been attacked during a burglary. Some of her belongings were missing.

Gary Schwarz remembers driving by his sister’s Alderwood Manor home after her body was found. He saw a couple of cars in the driveway. He didn’t know the cars belonged to homicide detectives.

The next day his dad came to his house, pounding on the front door, bearing the worst kind of news.

“The nightmare began,” Gary Schwarz said.

He and his sister were close. They were friends. She would have been a good aunt to his two sons. She would have been a great mom to the children she wanted to have someday.

“What do you do with yourself when a part of you is gone?” Gary Schwarz said. “What do you do?”

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463,

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