Name: Colleen ‘Suzie’ Wood
Age: 53 years old
Last seen: December 28, 2000
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Colleen Wood is a caucasian female with graying blonde hair and brown eyes. She is 5’2 tall and weighs 115lbs.
Colleen ‘Suzie’ Wood was born on December 2nd, 1947. She lived in Dayton, Ohio, and was divorced and a mother of two children.
In April 1988, Colleen moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she began working as an office manager at Lighthouse Point Marina.
Colleen met John L. Paul Sr. in late 1999, through a mate-seeking personal ad, while looking for a sailing companion.
John L. Paul Sr. was a former professional race car driver in the late 1960s. After a divorce in 1972, he left racing and began living on a sailboat he had purchased. The two were reportedly inseparable, one evening Colleen told John about her life dream of sailing around the world. After this discussion, John offered to take her on a voyage around the world.
Within a few weeks, Colleen sold her condominium and moved onto the ‘Island Girl’, which was John’s 55-foot schooner. She also quit her job, which her boss and friends were shocked about, and entrusted the $43,000 profit from her condo to John for investment.
On December 3rd, 2000, Colleen spoke to her sons Michael who lived in Ohio, and Todd who was a soldier stationed in California, on the phone. During the call, Colleen told them about her plans with John to embark on a five-year sailing tour around the world in a few weeks and that she would be in touch soon.
On December 13th, 2000, Colleen spoke with a co-worker Maureen over the phone, and they discussed an office Christmas party she was invited to. The co-worker said Colleen was in good spirits and during the call Colleen was at a bar with John in Key West, Florida. Colleen never ended up coming to the Christmas party and didn’t have contact with her family over Christmas.
Her friends and family grew concerned after New Year’s, Todd’s wife called her cellphone but had found out her account had closed, due to no payment. She decided to contact Florida Police Department but there wasn’t much they could do as there was no evidence a crime had been committed.
In April 2001, Colleen’s family reported her missing to the Lauderdale Police Department.
After Colleen Wood’s disappearance, her son Michael went onto the internet a was shocked when he found out about John’s criminal history.
John L. Paul Sr. was involved in a drug-smuggling scheme in the early 1980s and had tried to murder his partner for snitching on them. In June 1986, he was found guilty of attempted murder in the first degree and was sentenced to 20 years in a federal penitentiary.
After serving 15 years, in July 1999, John was let out on parole and had met Colleen within less than a year. The boat trip around the world was a violation of his parole.
In December 2000, an ad placed in the local newspaper, looking for a first mate on a boat was run in the “Help Wanted” section, purchased using Colleen Wood’s credit card by an unidentified male.
Then on December 16th, 2000, there was a second ad placed in the personal “male seeking female” section, this was around the time Colleen last spoke to her co-worker Maureen.
Authorities found that based on cellphone records, Colleen last used her phone around December 16th, 2000.
Investigators also found that $38,000 had been withdrawn from Colleen’s bank account, over 80 separate withdrawal transactions, between mid-December 2000 and mid-February 2001.
Surveillance footage was found from the ATM in Fort Lauderdale, which showed two women using Colleen Wood’s credit cards. Authorities were able to identify and locate these women. When questioned, the two women claimed a man gave them Colleen’s credit cards, along with the PIN numbers, and told them they would receive a percentage of the money.
In May 2001, authorities tracked down John and he was taken for questioning. He told investigators that in mid-December 2000 they had gotten into an argument about a debt she owed him. Authorities have said that John seemed nervous but also unconcerned about Colleen’s disappearance.
However, the story John gave authorities was different from the story he had told Colleen’s son Michael. In fact, he had given different scenarios to different people. Michael says John told his daughter Colleen had been irate over one of his ex-girlfriends and had ended the relationship. Michael asked John’s daughter to call him back, however, three days later, John called him and gave him another version of the story. He told Michael they had gotten into an argument and Colleen left the boat, and then a few days later came back with her boyfriend to get the rest of her stuff.
Authorities were unable to find any evidence which indicated John was involved in the disappearance of Colleen Wood and has not been named a suspect in the case. After being questioned, John left U.S soil on his boat, which is a violation of his parole, and is wanted by authorities for further questioning.
John has been spotted over the years in the Fiji Islands, Italy, and was last seen in Thailand. His boat is no longer “Island Girl” it has been renamed “Diamond Girl”.
John’s wife Chalice Paul also disappeared in 1981 and has not been found since.
If you have any information on the disappearance of Colleen Wood please contact the Fort Lauderdale Police Department at 954-828-5512 or 954-828-5517.
Resources and Further Information
Investigation Discovery: Disappeared – Season 6 Episode 4 “Dark Voyage”