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November 13, 2003

Travelers may be key to death

From: The News-Press, FL - Nov 13, 2003

Deaf woman killed in Dunbar on Oct. 7

Published by on November 13, 2003

The investigation into the killing of a deaf woman in Dunbar last month has shifted to who may have traveled with her from Palm Bay the day before she was found shot to death.

Fort Myers police said Suzie Proctor, 33, may have given a man a morning ride from Palm Bay to Fort Myers on Oct. 6. The next morning, she stopped another a man on Lafayette Street to ask for directions.

Since she couldn't speak or hear, she wrote the man a note, saying she gave someone from Palm Bay a lift, and he didn't pay her. She was trying to get back and wanted directions to Interstate 75, said Sgt. Mike Carr.

"We want to know if there is anyone out there who saw her or came into contact with her," Carr said.

About noon that same day, the 1994 Dodge Caravan that belonged to Proctor was seen leaving the crime scene — a grassy alley behind a house at the corner of Edison Avenue and Pauldo Street.

Police later tracked the van to Travis L. Fletcher, 17, of Fort Myers, who has since been charged as an adult with second-degree murder and carjacking. He is being held at the Lee County Jail without bail.

Some people close to Proctor don't believe she would voluntarily come to Fort Myers. Melbourne resident Lorene Powers, 65, the former mother-in-law of Proctor, saw the Palm Bay woman the weekend before she was killed. Powers said the deaf woman was happy about landing a new job at Patrick Air Force Base as a custodian. Proctor's fiancee, Bernard V. Hughes, 37, said Proctor told him in sign language she loved him and gave him a kiss before leaving for work the morning of Oct. 6. He, like Powers, thinks she may have been abducted.

"I don't believe she would just take someone over there," said Powers, who also said she has parental custody of Proctor's two children, Amanda, 14, and Adam, 11. "Why would she jeopardize her new job?"

North Fort Myers resident Sara Ball, a longtime friend of Proctor, also said the Palm Bay woman could have been in danger because if she came here on her own, she likely would have contacted Ball.

"They either van-jacked her, or they agreed to give her money and didn't," Ball said. "She didn't even know where she was, and there she is right down there in Dunbar."

Anyone with information on Suzie Proctor can call the Fort Myers Police Department at 334-4155 or CrimeStoppers at 332-5555.

Copyright 2001, The News-Press.