FLEMING ISLAND, Fla. – Susan Mauldin, 65, was last seen alive or heard from on Oct. 23, 2019. Her remains were found in late January in a landfill in Folkston.
One year after she disappeared, two pumpkins remain on the porch of Mauldin’s Fleming Island home -- a daily reminder to her neighbors and friends of her loss.
“It’s very disappointing to think those pumpkins have been out there for a year," Joy Strickland said. “It’s almost as if time has stopped for this house. There’s a bubble around it. It’s protected and it’s safe. And even though we all know what happened in the house, bits and pieces of it, it’s just time has stood still.”
“It’s very scary when you think about what she must have gone through the last hour or however long it was of her life,” Joy Strickland said.
Mauldin’s contractor, 45-year-old Corey Binderim, also of Clay County, sits in jail awaiting trial on a charge of second-degree murder in her death.
Time hasn’t dulled the pain of Mauldin’s loss.
“Sometimes I can see her. I can see her coming out the door,” Anderson said. “As time goes by, I am hoping that will disappear.”
A growing memorial on Mauldin’s front steps joins the pumpkins she left behind. There are flowers and a sign that reads “Fly high with the angels, Susan.”
“It’s really crazy to think that one of your friends will be murdered and they would find her in a landfill in Georgia,” Strickland said. “You wouldn’t think about that at all.”
Strickland is believed to be the last person to have heard from Mauldin, who didn’t have any family locally and spent a lot of time with her friends.
“She messaged me because my husband was in the hospital, very ill. And she messaged me to see how he was,” Strickland said. “We messaged back and forth several times Wednesday night before she came up missing.”
Mauldin’s friends would like to have a memorial for her by the end of the year. According to the trustees of Mauldin’s estate, a death certificate has not been issued, because the medical examiner has not released the cause of death.
Binderim, who pleaded guilty months ago in an unrelated forgery care in Jacksonville, is being held without bail in the Clay County jail. His next court appearance is set for Nov. 3.
Irene Strickland, who said she knew Mauldin for 20 years, said she and others are watching the process ensure justice is done for their friend.
“We are waiting. We have not given up,” she said.