BALLSTON SPA — On March 2, 1998 Suzanne G. Lyall, a 19-year-old attending the University at Albany disappeared.
Twenty-five years later Lyall’s family and the Ballston Spa community are preparing to remember the somber day the teen went missing.
At 5 p.m. March 2, Michael DeFilippo and Bob Clous will sound the bell atop the Civil War-era red brick factory located at the corner of Prospect Street and Milton Avenue 25 times in remembrance of Lyall.
Village Mayor Frank Rossi has also proclaimed March 2 to be Suzanne Gloria Lyall Remembrance Day and has urged people to have a moment of silence for Lyall.
Rossi said he was a student at Union College when news spread quickly about Lyall’s disappearance.
“To this day I’m saddened by the fact that her family has lived through this,” he said.
Lyall was last seen getting off a CDTA bus the evening of March 2, 1998, returning to campus from a part-time job.
Since Lyall’s disappearance her parents, Doug and Mary Lyall, have founded the Center for HOPE (Healing Our Painful Emotions) a non-profit group that works to advocate about missing persons, as well as educate and prevent them from happening.
“Doug and I chose the acronym HOPE for our organization because families and friends of missing persons typically experience intense emotions ranging from shock and disbelief to sadness and grief to frustration, anger and rage — a rage that wants justice,” Mary Lyall said in a press release about the event. “Often the most devastating emotion of all — despair — enters the scenario. Keeping hope alive is so important.”
The Lyalls and volunteers at the center helped lay the groundwork for the Suzanne Lyall’s Campus Safety Law, which identifies the policies for police when investigating a violent crime on a campus. The law was signed in August 2008 by then-President George Bush.
Prior to that federal legislation, Bush signed the Suzanne Lyall Law in 2003, “which boosted the age for those protected by The Center for Missing and Exploited Children from 18 to 21 and spearheaded efforts to introduce the Missing Persons Alert System through the NYS Thruway as well as having decks of Cold Case playing cards produced for circulation among inmates in county jails and Coasters for HOPE distributed for use in restaurants and bars,” states the release.
Rossi said that Mary Lyall, who was widowed in 2015, has shown enormous strength over the years for what she’s endured but also the energy she’s put forth in making sure others don’t have to live through what she has.
“It’s sad, but at the same time it keeps hope alive for others out there,” Rossi said.
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