May 25, 1995 in Nation/World

Police Re-Enact Sinking Of Car Authorities Find Susan Smith’s Car Took Six Minutes To Sink

Associated Press

Investigators rolled Susan Smith’s car into a murky lake and let it sink with a waterproof video camera in the back seat Wednesday to show what her two little boys may have seen in their final moments.

It took about six minutes for the 1990 Mazda Protege to go down, its trunk lifting high into the air before it slid under the surface with a rush of air bubbles.

Sheriff Howard Wells, who got Smith to confess that she drowned her sons, stood grim-faced on the bank.

“We found that there were several questions during this investigation that needed to be answered before the trial, and a re-enactment was the only way we could do it,” Wells said. He would not elaborate.

Smith’s murder trial begins July 10. She could get the death penalty.

In her confession, Smith said she was suicidal the night of Oct. 25. She never explained, however, why she got out of the car, and let it roll into John D. Long Lake with 3-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alex strapped into their car seats in the back.

Originally, she told investigators that a carjacker had taken the boys. That touched off a nationwide search. Nine days later she confessed.

Defense attorney David Bruck said he will probably pursue a defense that hinges on her mental state.

© Copyright 1995 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email