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April 24, 2019

More Warning Signs

More Warning Signs

Hear Susan Osborne's own words as she describes her tumultuous life and marriage to Jerry Osborne.

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Welcome to Secrets True Crime.  I am your host, Amber Sitton.  What is done in darkness will eventually come to light.  That is the purpose of this podcast...to shine light on the story of Susan Osborne and her 14-year-old son Evan Chartrand. They vanished from their home in the tiny Alabama community of Holtville on Memorial Day in 2017.  They haven't been seen or heard from since, and their bodies have not been found. This is episode 6 of a serial podcast with each episode building upon the previous.  If you have not listened to Episodes 1 through 5, please stop and listen to it first or you probably won’t understand what’s happening in this episode.  Listener discretion is advised. This episode contains one instance of mildly foul language, and the subject matter may involve violence, sexual content, murder, and adult themes.  It’s not suitable for younger listeners.  Susan’s daughter, her daughter’s father who we are referring to a Jay and Jay’s mom will all come up in this episode.  As mentioned in previous episodes, we are choosing not to name any of these 3 people.  If you know or have known Jerry or knew Susan after she was married to Jerry, I want to hear from you.  Someone knows something.  The information you may think is small or insignificant could make a difference in this case, and you can remain anonymous.  secretstruecrime@gmail.com or the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office at 334-567-5546.


We’ve already heard some alarming stories about what was happening in Susan and Evan’s lives.  This week you are going to hear more about the turmoil and red flags in Susan’s marriage to Jerry.  You are going to hear Susan’s own words describing some of the craziness she was enduring in her life.  


At the time that Susan and Jerry got married, Susan had a great job, but Jerry immediately began to pressure her to quit and become a stay at home mom.

Hollie: (23:18)

Jerry had actually been trying to push it for awhile and she had mentioned to me quite a few times. She's like, well Jerry, you know, keeps bringing up to me wanting me to quit my job and I'm just not sure I'm ready for that. She's like, she said, I don't know.  I'm going to have to think about that. I'm used to being on my own for one thing and she's like, I'm used to having my own money and I'm used to working. She's like, I don't know if I'm ready to quit. She's like, I could stay at home with the kids during the summer and everything. Stay at home with them during the summer then and not have to worry about daycare and all that.


Hollie told me that while Susan recognized the upside to being a stay at home mom, she was still very reluctant.  Maybe she knew something wasn’t right in her marriage and she knew she’d be letting go of a huge piece of her independence.  But then something happened at work one day.  Susan felt she was being asked to do something dishonest.  Hollie said she was given an ultimatum by her boss to either do it or be fired.  Susan called Jerry from work, and after their conversation, she quit.  Susan’s dad had bought her a car years earlier, and it was in her name, but that too would soon change.

Hollie: (24:47)

Yeah, I think it was a control issue because everything he did it lead into the whole control issue. So they lived together for a little while before they got married and so everything. Because just like her vehicle, she had started having problems out of her vehicle and everything and it was breaking down all that, but rather than, you know, pushing her to buy a vehicle while she was still working where it can be in her name and her financing. It was not until after she quit working, then that's when he was pushing more for her to get another vehicle. So it was his name. So he had that tie to her, so I mean everything he did when he had that control over her, because I mean she didn't have her own income, she didn't have her own vehicle, she technically did but it was in his name. So I mean she couldn't count on that if she left him and then even the more time went on and the longer they were together, the more control he, you know, was obtaining because even though, and I started noticing and Susie, one thing that really sort of worried me and was a really red flag for me, Susie was always the type before she met him, she did not cry. She is not emotional type.


Hollie: (26:14)

You never saw her cry, you never heard her cry. And then I started noticing little by little the more time she was with on, there were times on the phone she would break down and cry with me on the phone. It was multiple times and I'm like, are you okay? And she said, it's just, no, I just don't know what to do. Just don't know what to do. And she would just break down crying. And then even she had. And I know a lot of the things, it was almost like she was embarrassed to even say because it, even after she found out everything and she's, you know, she had told me of course because she trusted me and knew she could tell me these things, but you know, she said it's so embarrassing. It's embarrassing. You know, she's, the only thing that makes me feel better is that you know finding this out, I didn't make him become this. It was already like this before I met him.

Susan no longer owned her car, and she no longer had her own income.  She was now almost wholly dependant on her husband.  While that can be a beautiful thing in a good marriage, it can be debilitating to a person in an abusive one.  At first, Hollie said this didn’t seem to be an issue in Susan & Jerry’s marriage.  Susan had free access to her and Jerry’s joint bank account.  However, this is yet another thing that would change.  Susan told Hollie that Jerry began to give her an allowance.  


Hollie: (27:10)

And because when she found out after the email she sent me and everything and we can get into the email is also. But she mentioned to me one day that he started where it went from her having free access to the bank accounts to he was giving her an allowance and allowance to pay bills and an allowance to do things. Except if like, if he thought she was mad at him or anything like that, then it was like, here are baby, go shop and go get your nails done or go buy a dress. That it was almost like here me by your love. You know what? Let me just pay you off to keep you from being mad or being upset or where you will say anything. So because as she mentioned that day about him giving her an allowance and I was like, do what? But it's so she couldn't talk a whole lot because if he was around and she didn't say these things, so she had to be careful about what she said. I really think that she was afraid that almost like he was listening in even when he wasn't home and was like he had the house bugged or something too.



We already know that Jerry read Susan’s text messages.  In Episode 4, Susan’s brother Brian mentioned the family later discovered that when Susan was speaking on the phone with her dad, Susan had him on speaker phone so that Jerry could listen in.  Hollie told me that Jerry listening on speaker phone wasn’t a unique occurrence with Susan’s dad.  She said the only way Susan could talk on the phone when Jerry was home was by speaker phone so that Jerry could listen to both sides of every conversation Susan had.  


Hollie: (02:14:49)

because was like, the more time went by the board, it's almost like he wanted to listen to enter the conversation and then even there were times that she always had the snake from. She didn't ever go into detail or say anything while I was there, but know whenever I was on the phone with her, always had to be careful about what I said because always wouldn't know if he was there or not. I'd be scared to say something that I shouldn't say in front of him, you know, and scared to lead onto him what we knew and how much she knew and everything. And I would just like, there were times when he start talking in the background, you know, carry on the cover, you know, kind of butting into the conversation. As he did that quite frequently.


While we don’t know if Susan’s fears about Jerry bugging her phone and house were founded or not, it’s easy to see why she would have those fears since he didn’t allow her to have private conversations with friends and family.  There were undoubtedly enough signs of trouble in their relationship to cause Hollie to worry.


Hollie: (06:34)

I was working for the Va hospital at the time and she called me up one day and she said she sent me a text actually first of all.


Hollie: (06:42)

And it really scared me because she said, can I add you on as the emergency contact for Evan for the school? I said, of course. I said what's wrong though? Is everything okay. And I immediately called her because I was like, okay did something happen because this was after she started finding out more about Jerry and and so I immediately called her and I said, are you okay? I said, what's wrong? I said, you know, you can put me on like, but I just want to make sure everything's okay. She said yes. She said, and so jerry was there then, so she kind of shrugged it off and she's like, yeah, yeah. I was just thinking, you know, in case, just say me and Jerry were in a car wreck. She said, I just want to make sure that you're on his emergency contact if something in a situation like that. So that really started worrying me because she was, as she brought Jerry's in it, I just to pretty much let me know he was there and then he was talking in the background so and I was on speaker phone so I knew he was there so she didn't go into any detail me on that, but she put me on as his emergency contact for the school and things like that.


You all know the saying. Hindsight is 20/20.  Even though Susan shared many terrible and painful secrets with Hollie, in hindsight, Hollie believes she still was keeping a great deal from her about her relationship with Jerry.  It became harder for Hollie to spend time with Susan.  Susan would often cancel at the last minute.  Hollie told me that in the months before her move to Key West, it didn’t seem that Susan was being allowed to drive herself anywhere.  


Hollie: (46:01)

I really kind of wonder, you know, if she was telling me all, you know, because as controlling as just even the parts that I'm started of finding out, it really made me wonder if he was. He might have been hiding the keys or keeping the keys for himself that she wasn't telling me that because it was almost like a mixture of. There was a lot of things she would tell me. But there's a lot of things I think that she was scared to tell me because she wants to. She didn't want me to worry. And especially before I moved away too you know. She knew I would worry even more.


Hollie: (01:23:14)

Yes. I know he had a temper and I know what her inevitably told me on multiple, you know, multiple times he had a temper and they had to be here. And even you, even Evan said that, you know, and they're like, yeah, this. And he definitely had the temper this and he's crazy and there's a way you really have to watch out. You have to be careful around him a lot of times, you know, so yeah, I could definitely see because like I said, it's almost like he, I mean he was carrying two completely separate lives, so it's had two separate identities here. He's got his supposedly perfect marriage and profit live with his wife and kids so to speak because he portrayed like he was this perfect dad, you know, and he never had any kids of his own biological kids and he seemed like such a great guy when behind closed doors here he was cheating on him. I mean, what kind of person would sit there care two separate lives and anyone who could carry it on for that long, that shows how good they are mind. And what else are they capable of?


One night, Hollie had plans to meet Susan for dinner.


Hollie: (01:32:17)

he brought her to the restaurant and picked her up. I'm kind of like, that's kind of weird. It was one of the few times that we were actually able to go out to eat with justice. And um, I asked her, I said, do you want me to carry you back? I'll take you back to the house. And she's like, no, no, it's okay. So, which made me wonder, okay, is she scared? Scared of him now what she wasn't telling me at the time in was she was telling me in so many words somewhat because she was like, she said, yeah, he's dangerous. He's, he's crazy. We have to watch out. But she never told me, yes, he's hitting me or anything like that. But like little red flags like that on my know. Okay. That's a little strange that, you know, why would he then when he kept texting her, even while we were there with the restaurant, we went to a Mexican restaurant. He kept texting her the whole time and um, and then, you know, can say, are you ready yet? You ready coming to pick you up yet? And he rode around town and you know, waited for us to finish eating. It didn't. I guess maybe I've been sitting out there in the parking lot the entire time. I don't know.


Evan was scheduled to have a medical procedure one morning.  Jerry was working the overnight shift.  Hollie didn’t want Susan to sit in the waiting room alone all day, so she took the day off to spend with her, but Jerry still came.


Hollie: (01:08:30)

But even on another day when Evan had a procedure done that day and I didn't want her sitting at the, at the doctor's office all day long in the waiting room by herself, and I didn't think Jerry would be there, who's serious working night shift then. And so I've told her, I said, I'm going to take off of work and, you know, go with you there. So I don't know if she'd be there by yourself and you're worried about him and everything. So, uh, I took off work that day and I met her there, that person in that morning at the doctor's office at the imaging center. And Dr Jerry was there too. So he had worked 12 hour shifts all nights and then still came with her to the appointment.


Hollie: (01:09:17)

So it was kind of a mixture. I was like, okay, so look at this from two perspectives. He's, he's the loving, supportive husband or either he's the clingy, possessive, I don't want to let her go anywhere without him type. So here, you know, because he didn't even, even after working in this tar shed, you know, he's okay. And then once the, before I needed to our situation, yeah, I would have thought it was the loving, supportive husband, but after seeing the red flags with him and knowing what he was doing and knowing that he was cheating on her with men and women and I was like, yeah, this is more so he's being possessive and not wanting her to go anywhere by herself. He's probably afraid, you know, she's never run into somebody that he knows and she'll find out. And so we went to eat lunch after that.


Hollie: (01:10:09)

Ebony wanted pizza, everyone two CC's pizza after that. And um, and after we were leaving the restaurant and being who are hugging each other by and we're like, we needed to get together and have a girls day, you know, go get announced on whatever. And she's like, yeah. She's like, we're definitely gonna do that soon. Well, he's standing right there. He goes, oh, I can remember girls day with you all. And so once this was, he didn't know, I knew about his, his gay extracurricular activities or whatever you want to call it. And so I would try and not let onto and that I knew, but then I would kind of make some little sarcastic remarks time every once in a while. So it's kind of gotten to where I was just like, wow. And He, um, he made, when he made that comment, he said, oh, he said I can have a girls day.


Hollie: (01:11:06)

Were the old two, oh zero. So this just in the US getting your nails done or talking girl stuff or whatever. So I kind of just to shrug it off. And I said, let's you at girl stuff, you know. And he goes, oh, I can be one of the girls too. 


By this time, Hollie was beginning to suspect that Jerry did not want her alone with Susan but was his behavior just targeted at Hollie’s relationship with Susan?  I’ve spoken to so many people about this case.  Many of them shared information and stories with me, but for various reasons, some of these stories can’t be revealed.  I can tell you that based on these stories, I believe Jerry didn’t want Susan to be alone or have one on one conversations with anyone.  The behavior that was described to me off the record was very troubling and controlling.

On September 8th, 2016, Susan sent Hollie an email.  I have a copy of the email, and this is the one time we are going to hear Susan describe her situation in her own words.  It shows just how tumultuous their lives had become. Remember, in episode 4, Hollie told us that Jerry was making promises to Susan that he’d get her full custody of her daughter again.  Hollie believed that he used the promise of this as another way to manipulate Susan.  Here is what Susan sent to her best friend.

Here is the latest.  The last 2 weeks Jerry thought he was being followed to work by someone in a black truck.  Monday evening Jerry sent me a text from work saying it happened again.  He then proceeded to tell me how he was going to start investigating Jay and Jay’s mom on his own.  That he was going to get my daughter back to me no matter what...Because he could see the pain I carry.  Well, that was bullshit.  I knew something was up because that came completely out of nowhere.  He took me to the dentist on Tuesday.  Right after my appointment he mentioned getting a haircut.  I told him to take me home first because I already took the muscle relaxer and pain meds….I was tired.  He brought me home and then went back out for a haircut.  He then brings it back up.  About he is going to get my daughter back.  It’s about 3:30 pm and he grabbed his keys.  I asked what he was doing.  He said, I’ve already told you.  I am going to investigate them.  I said, right now?  Are they even home?  Do you know anything about their schedules and where Jay works or anything?  He said no but I’m going to find out.  I said that makes no sense.  You need to research where they will be...not aimlessly drive.


I told him that I thought it was out of the ordinary.  That I just had an extraction, root canal and a crown.  He knew I didn’t feel well and was drugged up.  Yet he was adamant on leaving right then to start investigating.  I texted him later and asked if he was by Jay’s mom’s house because I was getting ready to call my daughter.  He told me the guy in the black truck, the guy that has been following him, was chasing him down 65 toward Verbena.  I told him to let the guy pass so he could get the plate number.  He said he tried but the guy wouldn’t.  Whatever.  An hour goes by.  I called back and no answer.  He texted back telling me he was talking to the guy and getting answers.  I asked why he didn’t answer.  He said his phone was at 4 percent.  I told him he needed to stop anywhere and buy a charger.  After that...nothing.


Common sense told me what was going on.  On the other hand...he is talking to some guy who’s been following him.  Then he disappears.  I finally thought about going onto the verizon website.  It showed he made several calls and lots of texts all night.  All to Mobile numbers.  And two calls to yellow cab in Mobile. 


So it looks like maybe the guy robbed Jerry, took his phone?  Stole his truck?  Wallet?  Killed him?


The next morning I sent a text message at 5 am saying if he does not call by 6 am I am filing a missing persons report.  And another at 6 am saying I’m calling the sheriff’s to file.  And another around 7 am after I filed the report.  I sent a text to the last number called and texted on his phone.  Asking if they knew him, that I filed a missing persons report and that the sheriff’s office would be contacting them.


I call his boss later.  Told him I filed a missing persons report and if he’d seen or heard anything to let me know.


I finally heard from him around 6:30 pm yesterday.  12 hours after I filed the report.  He called the sheriff’s office and his work early in the morning to let his boss know he was okay.  Meanwhile, he didn’t text me till that evening.  The first thing I heard from him...was a picture of Jay’s mom’s driveway and a message saying Jay was not there.  Really?  I asked where he was and told him I was scared to death something happened to him.  He told me he had to clear his head because the buy who was following him (an investigator) would not give his name but it had Larry Parker on the window of the truck (and told Jerry he worked for LCBP) but told him he was investigating him under the accusation that he is being unfaithful to his wife and running around with men.  Something like that.  How many investigators will tell you they are investigating you?  And the name of the company?  And why?  Zero.  That’s how many.  So he told the sheriff and his boss he was okay but I didn’t need to know...Long story short.  He had already made plans.  He has been texting back and forth with Brittany in Mobile.  He was supposed to meet her at 5 or 6 I think.  He got a hotel.  Met with her.  Got a taxi.  They went to a strip club and then went back to the hotel with her.  The investigating for my daughter was a ruse.  Which I already knew.  It was only a cover.  But of course, flips it back around like I’m the bad guy.  I have the actual text messages from the two of them.  Oh, by the way, I shared those messages with her boyfriend.  


After Susan sent this email to Hollie, the 2 of them continued to text about it.


Hollie: (01:01:34)

so and then me and her We were texting back and forth to each other and I said, and I told her, I said, you should've called me the other night. I said, the black vehicle was probably either complete. Why? Or one of the many men he was having relationships where as in some now the same thing is happening with other women also. And I said, he's a pathological liar. I said, and he forgets what he's lying about and thinks he's getting away with it. And so it messages go on and on and everything. And I told her, I said, you know, if you need anything, I'm here. Please be careful. You never know if he might snap since he knows that you know, about the relationships with men. And all she said. And um, that's when I told her, I said, I had a nightmare that he's trying to do something to you, so please be here. I said, my house was a big you where the kids are than welcome here. We will make room. So you said. And she told me, she said, thank you. She said he is crazy. She said there was not a truck that night. I know that for sure. He was headed to my goal to meet her at the other nights were probably just because he's crazy paranoid because he's doing wrong and then tries to blame me.


Hollie: (01:02:48)

So. And I told her, I said, that's right. I said, you know, usually the ones that are doing something wrong, get paranoid and blame the person is not doing it wrong. They get paranoid because they are lying and doing something wrong or they usually blame the other person and it's just I wish I could have got her away from him.


Unfortunately, this was just one of many failed attempts by Hollie to get Susan to leave.  Hollie was afraid for Susan and Evan.  She described numerous conversations she had with Susan as she tried to convince her to leave.  


Hollie: (07:57)

her kids were her main motivation. She lived for those kids. She would do anything for them. I just even, you know, when she's started finding out more things with jerry and the email strings back and forth though that me and her have, even in one of the emails from September 2016. I'm even telling her, you know, please, please get out of there. You know, I want you to pack you and the kids' stuff and get out of there. I'm worried for your safety. You know, y'all can live with me as long as yall need to. I was like, you know, we will figure it out. And she said, I know, I know. She's like, I know he's dangerous. I know he's crazy. She's like, but I can't put the kids without insurance. She said, I've got to get a job lined up first and get insurance for the kids because especially with Evan's health problems, I can't put him without insurance. She said, and she said that she's not and she said, I'm worried about if I get a job with him being out of school as much as you know, are they even going to keep me because of that. And you're going to be out of work so much with him. 


As Hollie watched Susan’s situation get more and more out of control, she even began to dream about it and yet again, she begged her to get out.


Hollie: (54:51)

I literally had messaged her in these animals as said, Susie, I'm worried for your own kids' safety as it and as moms telling her, I said, you need to pack your stuff up and get her here as a unit to move him. You know, knew with me, you know you can live here as long as you need to. And she's like, I know, I know. She's like that. I can't put. The kids were like insurances that I know. He's crazy. I know I have to be careful. I know she said I'm sorry but I cannot put the kids without insurance. I said, I understand that. As soon as I said I wasn't sure what that is telling you, this, this and that scared me even more now. And she said, tell me what? And I said, I had a dream that he killed you. I said, I don't remember the details of the dream. I don't remember anything else in the dream other than in this dream. He killed you. I said, I'm worried sick and onto you as didn't. I'm scared for her safety.


Despite her best efforts, Hollie was never able to convince Susan to leave.  On the day Hollie was leaving Alabama for her new home in Key West, she tried to talk to Susan once again.


Hollie: (01:19:35)

She said she's in the comments you made and you may 16. She said, she's a communications. One of the biggest things we've communicated, report things out. She said he loves me and my kids. She's. And that was one of the things, she made that comment to me. She said, you know, he's even looking for evidence, you know, I've tried Rooney turned 16 a truck or car and she said, you know, but it's like a lot of scary because you to be so careful on people like that because when they're supposedly Siemens so nice and so supportive, it's really, it's a front. It's because they're doing something else.


While Susan told her that she and Jerry had worked things out, Hollie still saw one more instance of odd behavior in her last few moments with Susan before she pulled out of her driveway in Alabama for the final time.  


Hollie: (01:08:00)

We were getting ready to leave and he literally was almost like he was trying to break this up from hunting and just sort of almost trying to come in and just hug her instead. And She just kinda looked at me and rolled her eyes, you know, kind of insinuating to him.


It seemed like Jerry wanted Susan’s complete and undivided attention at all times but Susan just told Hollie 2 weeks prior to their disappearance that they’d worked everything out.  What happened in this 2 week period of time?  I asked Hollie what she thought happened and here is what she said:


Hollie: (02:18:01)

he always betrayed him. He is the type of guy that if she tried to leave him and he'd be the type that if you have nobody here, so either I could see him being that we're. If if she, if he knew, she found about, then he'd be like, oh no, if she's going to leave me then that, that's not going to happen. I'm not going to allow that because I'm not gonna let anyone else have her either and that she's going to mess up my front. I'm putting on and then everyone will find out


Join us next time as we take a closer look at what we know about Jerry Osborne.


Thank you for listening to Secrets True Crime.  If you or someone you know are in a situation similar to Susan’s and are experiencing abuse, please don’t wait.  There is help available.  You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.  If you are enjoying this podcast, please let us know by giving us a 5-star rating and review in Apple Podcasts.  If you have any information that could help in solving the disappearance of Susan Osborne and Evan Chartrand, please call the Elmore County Sheriffs Office at 334-567-5546.  You may also email me at secretstruecrime@gmail.com.  I’m active on social media and often share photos of Susan and Evan.  Follow Secrets True Crime on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  @secretscrime.