Who is Susie Pierce based on?
The character of Susie Pierce is likely based on Alice Felzmann, who was identified in a 2017 investigation conducted by Esquire.
According to the HBO Documentary, I Love You, Now Die, Felzmann, who was from Bellingham, Massachusetts, met Carter in the summer of 2012 while playing on a softball team. It wasn't long before the two became inseparable, and during a team trip to Montreal, the pair decided to break off and have dinner together, alone.
Felzmann's mum, Kelly, revealed to Esquire that when Alice met Michelle, she was suffering from depression. "I personally think Michelle picked up on that," Kelly said, implying that Michelle may have sensed Alice's vulnerability and used it to her advantage. Kelly then went on to describe Michelle as “super nice," before adding, "no kid is that nice."
With the two young girls living just 20 minutes apart, they would often have sleepovers where they'd go swimming and play basketball. When they weren't physically together, they would text constantly. Alice's parents were disapproving of the close nature of their relationship and tried to cut ties by confiscating Alice's phone, but she would find alternative means to contact Michelle. One day though, it seemed as though Alice's parents had gotten through to her, and she cut ties with Michelle without warning.
Prior to his death, Carter turned to Conrad for emotional support during this time, telling him that “this whole Alice situation is making me depressed.” Conrad told Michelle not to let it get to her, but it was obvious that she was hurting.
In his investigation, Esquire journalist Jesse Baron posed the idea that Michelle may have been queer, and found she had developed romantic feelings toward Alice. Back when the two girls were still friends, an unmarked envelope allegedly arrived at Alice's house, with what appeared to be a three-page long love letter inside, from Michelle. Kelly declined to show the letter, but according to Esquire, another source had confirmed its existence.
In a series of text messages obtained by authorities, Michelle claimed that Alice was her first kiss, and seemingly professed romantic feelings toward her. In a text to a classmate, Michelle wrote:
“Do you remember me being best friends with a girl named Alice? I'm obsessed with her like idk how to stop. Every love song or whatever, it's her I think about."
To another friend, she wrote: “I thought it was a phase at first like I thought we were just really good friends. But we started talking like a relationship would, flirting and stuff. Like idk if I am bi. I guess because I never had that type of relationship with another girl to really tell.”
Despite Michelle's claims, Kelly is adamant that nothing romantic transpired between the girls, and says that Michelle has simply made it all up.
While Felzmann denies all implications that her and Michelle were romantic in any way, it's impossible to get a complete picture of their relationship without comment from Michelle herself. And, given that she's declined any and all interviews, it's unlikely that we'll ever get an answer straight from the horse's mouth.
To this day, we still don't know if the girls were merely platonic friends or something more, and it's unlikely that we'll ever know. One thing is for certain, losing her friendship with Alice sent Michelle into a dark spiral, and perhaps, it's one that she couldn't get herself out of without destroying her entire world and aiding in the death of an innocent man.