DETROIT (WJBK) - When the family of Sue Pry contacted Detroit Police to report their missing family member in 1982, an investigative team didn't show up searching for the mom and when the family hired a private investigator, things turned dark.
Suzanne Pry was a mom. She was also a heroin addict, a hooker, and lived a hard life. For her sister, Sheila, she was even more than that; she was loved.
"My sister never got clean all those years. A prostitute and junkie. She was a mom, she was a daughter and she was a sister - she was loved."
She was far from perfect.
"She was a great sister to me and she could be horrible and steal from me and turn around and think everything was fine and buy me a car," Sheila said. But it wasn't just Sheila who was the target of Sue. "She robbed her neighbor three doors down of all their Christmas presents."
Sue was sick, deeply flawed and badly damaged. Sue lived a life in Detroit and disappeared but she was never searched for. There are many theories about what happened to Sue, but the true story of the past 36 years still remains a mystery.
All these years later, Sheila is asking someone, anyone, to make a call and put an end to their heartbreak.
REGGIE AND SUE
Suzanne Pry grew up in Berkley, Michigan. In high school, she got hooked on heroin and never got clean. In 1980, she was arrested for shoplifting, loitering and prostitution.
Later that same year, Sue had Regina, a love child with her pimp, Reggie Leigh.
Reggie owned a barber shop at Clairmount and Woodward and legend has it that he cut hair for some of Motown's greatest. Sheila, however, remember the shop as something else.
"He was a pimp. That barbershop was more than just a barbershop; cocaine was sold out of there, guns, there was a lot of illegal activity going on. It was kind of like a front," Sheila said. "He had a new Cadillac every year, he had all tailored suits. I mean, he had everything designer
Reggie was a pimp and at one point was even named the Pimp of the Year at the Players Ball.
Sue and Reggie met after Sue's first husband, Ken Harmon, was murdered. Sheila was 10 years younger than Sue and when she first met Reggie, he spoiled her. But she says her age made her unaware of the real dangers.
"[I] met Reggie and he was very nice. Always in a suit. He was always nice to me. Sweet and kind but I was young and didn't know what really was happening. I just knew I was getting spoiled as a little girl.
As Sheila grew up, she saw the relationship between her sister and Reggie more clearly. She said it was hostile and dangerous.
"She came over and she was beat to a pulp. She came with Regina and Regina was just in diapers and she said Reggie had beat her up."
Sue told Sheila to keep Regina and Sue took off. For nearly a week, Sue was gone and Sheila had Regina.
"For six days, Reggie called me hysterical [asking] 'do you know where my baby is? Where's Regina?' They both loved her very much," Sheila said. This man's crying on the phone and I couldn't take it no more. I said, 'Reggie I got her, I'm bringing her home.'"
Sheila took her niece to the downtown penthouse where Reggie lived. What she didn't know was that Sue was already there and was back together with Reggie. Sue was refusing to tell him what she did with the baby.
"She opened up the door, looking at me like everything was normal. Reggie came and grabbed Regina and he was just in tears holding her. I'm sitting on the couch and I'm really mad at her [thinking] you've been here all this time and this man's calling me crying and I've got the baby. I really felt bad for him until I got a gun to my head. He put a gun to my head [and said] tell her the truth - I'm sick of the lies - tell her the truth, you tell her the truth. The baby started crying and he went upstairs and I ran out that door."
THE LAST CHANCE BAR
In 1982, Sue and Reggie were supposed to move into a new home with a backyard for Regina. But that never happened. Sheila said her family received a call from Reggie.
"He called and asked 'Is Sue there?' '[We said] no she's not here'. After he found her car [we though] okay there's something wrong."
Her car was found by Reggie, who said he found it at the Last Chance Bar after days of searching.
"The car was just packed to the brim. Front seat, back seat, trunk. Where would she go without her coat her purse her money?" Sheila wonders.
Most importantly, Sheila says she wouldn't have gone anywhere without Regina, who was with Reggie.
"She wanted to leave and she was always going to leave with Regina. That baby was her world, her heart, her everything. She said 'if I'm gone and I don't have Regina, know that something happened to me.'"
THE PHONE CALL
Sheila says her dad and her sister, Shelley, tried to report Sue missing to Detroit Police. But when they filed the report, they were told that, given the circumstances, the family wouldn't want to know what happened to Sue.
"Prostitute, junkie. Her life basically didn't mean crap to them so they just said you really didn't want to know - that's what they told my dad," Sheila said.
With no sign of his daughter and no help from police, Sue's dad hired a private detective who started looking into Sue's disappearance. Then he got a mysterious phone call. He answered, listened, and hung up.
"He was shaking and crying and said somebody called and said if he did not stop investigating, trying to find my sister, that one of his other daughters would be gone and missing too," Sheila said.
Mr. Pry had five daughters. One was gone and the others were threatened.
"They just told him if he didn't stop searching that another one of his daughters would end up missing."
He wasn't willing to take that chance with his remaining daughters. The search for Sue was over.
WHAT HAPPENED TO SUE PRY?
The Last Chance Bar where Sue's car was found was a known hot spot for prostitution and Sue worked the bar.
"You'd pull in over here and the bar would be here and it wasn't big, it wasn't tiny, but it was busy. And there would always be girls out front walking," Sheila said.
The bar was so notorious for prostitution that in 1979, the Wayne County Prosecutor started going after the prostitutes and the bar. The women were ticketed first and then a lawsuit was filed against the owner.
Eventually, the county pulled the liquor license and shut the bar down. Sheila thinks her sister may have been caught up in that mess.
"Something was going on at the Last Chance Bar. My dad had told me that she was supposed to testify about something and she was being threatened to testify and not to testify so that could be it too."
That's not all. According to Sheila, Sue was known to steal from some of her clients.
"She did a lot of things. Like the man that used to come over every week and she'd rip him off. She did some shady stuff so there's no telling who she might have screwed over, stole from, I don't know."
Sue may have seemed heartless but she was an addict. Heroin turned her into a different person and Sheila says that person was someone Reggie may not have wanted around anymore.
"I don't know [Reggie had something to do with her disappearance]. I know he wanted Regina away from my sister."
She's not the only one who thought Reggie would want to get rid of Sue. In the basement of Reggie's barber shop, Sue had told her parents that there was a bunch of cement in the basement and she was worried.
"There was a lot of cement all of a sudden in the basement - and more was being brought in - and she was really, really scared. She told my mom she was scared, and my mom told me - her exact words were, 'Well, it may be for you,'" Sheila said.
Her family has always wondered if Sue was buried there in the cement. In fact, Sue's own father died believing exactly that.
If Reggie knew, he didn't say anything and we can't talk to him. He died in 2002 at the age of 60 and had been unable to speak since being beaten with a baseball bat years before.
The barbershop is long gone. It and the surrounding buildings were demolished in 2005 or 2006 and a new building went up in 2007.
There was no record of bones found on the property.
THE HAUNTING MYSTERY
The question of what happened to Sue Pry has been haunting this family for 35 years. Now Sheila is begging for answers.
"Just something, somebody, there's got to be somebody who knows what happened to her. She's got a daughter she never got to know and grandkids, she'd be spoiling them rotten."
If you have any information to help, contact Amy Lange at email@example.com or call Detroit Police Homicide at 313-596-2260.
Sadly, Sue's story isn't the only tragedy this family endured. In 2002, her younger brother, Cranford Nix, Jr., was found dead by his father of an overdose.
Like Sue, he was hooked on heroin and had gone through rehab multiple times. At the end of his fourth rehab stint, he wrote a song that he's now famous for called "Heroin and Cigarettes". CLICK HERE TO LISTEN