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This was not supposed to happen to my family.

Susan Jacobs is an abductor and attempted murderer who appeared in the Season Three episode of Criminal Minds, "Seven Seconds".


Susan originally worked at a local shopping mall in Potomac Mills, Virginia before quitting to pursue another career, eventually meeting and marrying Richard Jacobs, with whom she had a son named Jeremy. While the marriage was at first a happy one, it fell apart when it became apparent Richard was a pedophile and was molesting their young niece, Katie, whom Susan came to irrationally blame for her failing home life. In 2007, a girl the same age as Katie was abducted from the mall and later found dead, news which prompted Susan into enacting a desperate plan which she believed could save her marriage. A week after the death of the girl, Susan, her family, in-laws, and niece went to the mall for a day of shopping, with Susan claiming she planned on buying Richard a birthday present. While Jeremy, who was supposed to be watching Katie, was distracted in the arcade, Susan approached her niece and led her away. She ripped off the necklace her husband had given the girl, bound and gagged her, and placed her in a storage cabinet in the basement of the mall, knowing full well that Katie would likely die in there due to her severe asthma.

Seven Seconds[]

When Katie's parents notice her disappearance, Susan called the authorities, who in turn called in the BAU to help with the case, believing Katie's abduction may be related to the one from a week earlier. When the mall shuts down and the search for Katie starts, Susan plays the part of the bewildered bystander and comforts her hysterical in-laws. When it becomes apparent she is hiding something, Susan is confronted by Prentiss, who bombards her with the facts: she used to work at this very mall, remained fairly nonchalant when they questioned Jeremy about Katie, and her entire "happy marriage" appears to be a charade as she barely seems to know her husband anymore (for example, Susan had claimed the birthday present she was getting him was a lighter, even though Richard had quit smoking a month ago).

As her in-laws demand to know what she did to Katie, Susan is taken in for questioning. Prentiss calls her out on trying to protect her pedophilic husband instead of her niece, which Susan initially refuses to acknowledge. When Prentiss shoves a doll that Katie had mutilated and disfigured in response to the abuse she suffered, which Susan undoubtedly knew about, into her face, Susan finally breaks down. She and Richard are arrested for their crimes, while Katie is found and resuscitated a short time later. As his parents are taken away by the authorities, Jeremy admits to Reid and Morgan that he heard Katie call his mother's name.


Katie's abductor used coercion instead of force to take her, indicating that this person was either someone she knew or someone of visible authority. The necklace Katie wore being ripped from her neck and tossed in the trash indicated an unsub driven by rage and a personal vendetta, not one driven by lust, who would not bother to waste time committing such a seemingly pointless act. Susan irrationally blamed her failing marriage not on her husband's pedophilia but on her niece and believed that by removing her from the picture, she could reconcile with Richard (failing to or refusing to accept the reality that her husband was a pedophile).

Modus Operandi[]

Making sure to stay off of security cameras, Susan lured Katie away by calling her name. When she went along, Susan bound Katie with rope, gagged her with duct tape, and stuffed her in a storage closet, where she was left to die.

Real-Life Comparison[]

Susan appears to be inspired by Susan Smith - Both are abductors and attempted murderers of children in their family (though only Smith succeeded), had unhappy marriages, were motivated by trying to stay in a relationship (with Jacobs' husband and Smith's new boyfriend accordingly), used ruses to lure their children away and get them alone, filed false police reports to divert suspicion (Jacobs copied the murder of another girl at the mall, Smith alleged a fictitious black man killed her kids), portrayed the act of a mother in distress as part of their ruses, and share the same first name.

She may have been partially based on Sue Edwards, the brief accomplice of Richard Allen Davis (who was mentioned in the episode) - Both were accomplices to a pedophilic abductor and have nearly identical names.

Known Victims[]

  • October 20, 2007: Katie Jacobs (her niece; abducted and attempted to kill; was rescued)