Susan Heyliger was a 42-year old bartender in Largo, Florida, who was found dead after a 20-year old patron named Jeff Lobik killed her. Her case will be documented on Investigation Discovery’s Murder Book episode entitled “The Inside Man.” The new season of Murder Book premiered a few weeks ago. The crime documentary features cases that have gone cold or unsolved for many years before a killer is finally caught. In tonight’s Murder Book, you’ll hear from Susan Heyliger’s former husband and children, as well as law enforcement investigators and legal experts on the case. The man responsible for her murder, Jeff Lobik, is still incarcerated at a Florida correctional facility.
The murder of Susan Heyliger wasn’t a story that was splashed all across news headlines, though it was a crime that devastated her family for decades. It began back in 1987, when Susan Heyliger, a wife and mother of five children, finished up her shift as a bartender at the Country Club Lounge in Largo, Florida. After everyone was out, she locked the doors and busied herself closing up the bar as she did every time she worked. This time, however, she had no idea that someone else was still inside the bar with her, according to the North Pinellas News.
It wasn’t until the next day that some workers discovered her dead body lying in a pool of blood. Murder Book will retrace investigators’ steps, beginning with the phone call they received about the dead woman on the floor. When they arrived at the Country Club Lounge located in the 1500 block of East Bay Dr. (E. Bay Dr.), they found the victim with her throat cut. An autopsy report later determined that the victim had been hit on the head with a heavy object. She was also strangled.
As police studied the scene, they also saw that it appeared that someone had entered the bar through a make-shift part of the ceiling. The area was disturbed and several hundred dollars in cash was taken from the till. Whoever had killed the poor woman had taken her by surprise.
The woman’s husband, Bill Heyliger, was livid when his wife did not return home that night. But his anger turned to fear when she didn’t arrive the next morning. He knew that she wouldn’t leave the kids without any explanation. His fears were confirmed when he found out that it was worse than he had imagined.
But the killer had not gotten away unseen. In fact, some of the patrons told detectives they saw a young man enter the bathroom, but no one saw him leave, according to Pinelllas News. Still without any direct evidence to link him in 1987, the case went cold for 10 years, and then another eight years. They finally got a break in 2005 when evidence linked a man named Jeff Lobik to the crime. Lobik was a petty criminal who had a history of robbery and had even served time in prison. He denied having anything to do with the decades old murder, but eventually confessed to the killing.
According to Jeffrey Lobik, he was just a young man who was strung out on drugs at the time—a man who claimed that he couldn’t remember most of what he did back in those days. But he did remember, going into the bathroom, where he climbed inside the ceiling and waited for Susan Heyliger to lock up. Then, when all was quiet, he lowered him self down and attacked her, hitting her in the head as hard as possible with a trophy before strangling her and cutting her throat. It was a brutal, horrific death that the hardworking mother didn’t deserve.
Murder Book will detail how Lobik was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. He was later convicted in her death and sentenced to life in prison. Bill Heylinger hates to think about those times, but he is glad that Jeff Lobik if finally off the street. When Lobik was arrested for the murder, his live-in girlfriend was in shock, stating that she knew her boyfriend to be a sweet man, not a violent man.
This case is a reminder of Homewood, Alabama case involving a woman who was killed in her apartment after a maintenance man gained entry through the ceiling crawlspace. Her murder went also went unsolved for many years. Watch ID’s Murder Book on Thursday, December 10 at 7 p.m.
[Image via Florida Department of Corrections]