A Central Florida family is still searching for answers after losing their loved one 12 years ago during an abduction in Altamonte Springs. But they are still holding on to hope that someone knows something that could help solve the cold case.

  • Susan Perkins, other woman were abducted by a masked man in 2004
  • He took them to an ATM to withdraw money 
  • Perkins' sister is asking public's help to identify suspect

For Sara Wakefield, this may be the toughest anniversary yet of the day she lost her sister because of how similar the weather is now.

“The weather was exactly like what it’s like right now. We had all of the hurricanes coming through in 2004, so today was very reminiscent of how it was all of those years ago,” said Wakefield. “So it’s very difficult.”

What is also difficult for her, she confessed, is trying to understand why the suspect did what he did and trying to deal with the anger of losing her sister.

“I thought 'Wow, this guy is waking up today,' and what did he wake up 12 years ago thinking, that he would’ve done something like this?” said Wakefield. “And there’s so much anger for a person you have no face for.”

Wakefield said that about 8 p.m. on Aug. 31, 2004, her sister, Susan Perkins, was helping her friend with some window tinting at her salon off Maitland Avenue in Altamonte Springs.

Investigators say a man barged in, robbed the two women and then ordered them to what was then the nearby Washington Mutual Bank — now Chase Bank — and forced them to get money from an ATM. He then forced them inside the trunk of Perkins’ red Ford Focus.

Investigators said the suspect then drove to Boston Avenue, where the two women were able to use an emergency latch inside the trunk to open it. They jumped out. Perkin’s friend was able to run away and hid behind a sign for a while because she was so afraid.

But Perkins hit her head on the pavement when she jumped out of the car and she never recovered from her injuries.

“I was told that when Susan laid in the street when she jumped out of the trunk that people drove around her,” said Wakefield. “Does that speak to our day and time that people, do people just don’t want to get involved?”

Altamonte Springs Police have never been able to identify a suspect. The suspect was described as a black man about 5 feet, 10 inches to 6 feet tall, wearing a dark ski mask, a dark long sleeved shirt and dark work pants. The suspect was believed to have had a rifle.

Wakefield says her sister left behind two young sons who are now having to live most of their lives without their mother.

“I’m really praying that somebody will see this tonight and say, ‘Yeah, it’s the right thing to do, I need to get involved,’” said Wakefield.

“Even if it’s something that seems insignificant, it could be exactly what we need to really figure out what happened to Susan that night. She deserves that justice,” Wakefield added.

Crimeline is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information in this case. You can reach out to Crimeline anonymously at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477). You can also reach out to Wakefield at inlovingmemoryofsusan@yahoo.com.