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Swiss photographer captures case of local woman last seen on UAlbany campus 20 years ago

Photos from Out of the Blue, book documenting Suzanne Lyall missing case by Virginie Rebetez. Courtesy: Virginie Rebetez

Tonight marks 20 years since UAlbany student Suzanne Lyall was last seen getting off a bus on campus, never to be seen again.

We've been featuring Suzanne's case and her family’s continued search for answers the last few nights on CBS 6 News.

Over the last two decades, Suzanne's case has been the focus of many national news stories, but one of the latest people to profile Suzanne, was an artist from Switzerland.

Virginie Rebetez is a professional photographer. Tonight she's back home in Laussane, Switzerland, but she spent about two years in New York following the story of Suzanne’s disappearance.

“I’m really interested about missing persons. I wanted to create sort of a portrait of an absent person, so I found the Lyall family. They were very present online, so they were easy to contact,” Rebetez said.

Suzanne Lyall's disappearance is the center of Virginie's book, called Out of the Blue. Virginie took pictures of Suzanne's things, of the places she used to go in the Capital Region, and of the people she loved like her mother Mary, but when you see actual photos of Suzanne in the book, none of them are complete.

“It’s 20 years today, and we don’t know how she looks like. I think I wanted to show her face as fragments. The book speaks about this feeling of wanting closure, so it's always half shown,” Rebetez said.

The book also contains emails the family got from psychics and actual police reports from the investigation in 1998.

“There’s a lot of all these files of the search,” Rebetez said.

Virginie even commissioned a forensic sketch artist who put together three composites of what Suzanne might look like today as a woman about to turn 40.

“These are the only portraits of her that we see clearly in the book,” Rebetez said.

Suzanne’s mom Mary Lyall went with Virginie to present the book in New York City.

Today, 20 years since Suzanne disappeared, Virginie says she hopes the Lyall family finally learns what happened to Suzie.

“I think this is the most terrible thing that can happen to anyone. It’s like endless, endless search,” Rebetez said.

Virginie's book on Suzanne Lyall's disappearance is now included in the library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Tonight, March 2nd at 9:20pm marks 20 years since Suzanne Lyall was last seen on the UAlbany campus.

New York State Police continue to seek information in Suzanne Lyall’s case. If you know anything about Suzanne Lyall’s disappearance that could help investigators, call NYS Police at (518) 783-3212

or 1-(800) 920-4150.

NYS Police Senior Investigator John Camp says even if you aren’t sure the information you have is useful, that you should report it.

This is the latest information posted by police on Suzanne’s case: https://www.troopers.ny.gov/Wanted_and_Missing/Missing/view.php?ID=7d2586b3-87fc-44bb-b602-52825c71e4f0

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