A teen vanished while taking a bus in California 30 years ago. Police are now taking a new look at the cold case.

Source: Unsplash; Modesto police

Oct. 20 2021, Published 9:23 a.m. ET

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More than three decades ago, Susan Robin Bender spoke to her friend before getting a ride at a bus station in Modesto, California.

That was the last time anyone heard from her. Now, the Modesto Police Department is re-opening the cold case for a fresh review.

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On April 25, 1986, 15-year-old Bender was last seen at a downtown Greyhound Bus Depot in Modesto getting into a green van. Bender spoke to her friend, Sandie Silveria, about her trip before she disappeared.

Silveria described bender as someone who had an electric personality.

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That last conversation has haunted Silveria for years, which led to her persistent posting about the cold case on social media. Unfortunately, despite the numerous posts to seek new leads that will result in closure for family and friends, none has produced tangible results.

"I said, 'OK let me know you're OK when you get there', and I never heard from her again. Where is she, what happened to her, and whoever did this, they be held accountable. The hope of her being found alive is not something you can realistically look at, but the hope of justice being done for her, the hope of this is what happened, and she deserves justice is, I think, what would make us feel a little bit better," said Silveria, according to 9 News.

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Modesto police are also optimistic about closing the cold case due to the use of advanced DNA technology.

In recent years, authorities across the U.S. have had series of successes utilizing DNA genealogy to match DNA profiles on record. The technique involves taking a suspect’s DNA and comparing it with the suspect’s family members who had voluntarily submitted their DNA directly to authorities upon request or in various databases and depositories.

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It’s unclear what DNA evidence Modesto police could be using for analysis. However, Silveria believes the individual whose residence, Bender’s diary and belongings were found should be a person of interest to authorities.

Since the case is still being investigated, the police would not discuss any previous or current suspects.

"Given the circumstances of the crime, we also believe there may be individuals (previously unidentified) who may have pertinent information surrounding Susan’s disappearance.It’s important to remember that Susan was a child with a family. Unfortunately, that family has gone 36 years without closure or justice. It’s our job as an agency to assist in providing some level of closure with the ultimate goal of getting justice," stated Modesto Police Department in a Facebook post, according to ABC 10.

The police are seeking the public’s help. If anyone has information that could help solve the cold case, they are asked to contact Det. Josh Grant at (209) 342-9104 or


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