Victoria Frear holds out hope that her son Craig will be found alive, and she will be hugging the telephone today waiting for a call from him on what would be his 22nd birthday.
Craig Frear disappeared without a trace on June 26, 2004, after he left a friend’s home in the Cambridge Manor complex in Scotia to walk a short distance home. Years of fear and frustration have followed for the family.
Police say they do not believe he ran away or committed suicide.
“We believe some harm came to him and someone out there knew what happened and may have information to bring him home,’ said Lt. John Agresta of the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Loudonville.
Investigator Gloria J. Coppola said that after extensive interviews and ground searches, and through the process of elimination, police believe Frear met with an accidental death, but said anything is possible.
State police investigators and Frear’s family spoke at a news conference at the state police barracks in Loudonville on Monday and renewed a plea for the public’s help.
Instead of celebrating Craig’s birthday today, his family continues the agonizing search for him that has taken them on trips up and down the East Coast, to California and included meetings with psychics and private investigators.
“He is my son. I have to keep looking,” said Victoria Frear, of Glenville.
Before he disappeared, the then-17-year-old Frear was getting ready for his senior year at Scotia-Glenville High School and was chosen captain of the school’s varsity soccer team. He left the apartment of a friend and was last seen at about 2 p.m. that day. He was close to Cambridge Manor.
State police joined the investigation in 2006; initially it was handled by local agencies. They have tracked 400 leads and have polygraphed his family and friends and conducted hundreds of interviews. They have done ground searches with cadaver dogs of the area and searched the Mohawk River and its shores.
If Frear did run away, police said, he would have eventually tried to call his family for help or money. At the time of his disappearance, he had no identification, no wallet, money or cellphone on him.
Police say he had left the apartment of a girl he was seeing and was likely on his way home, which was about a 10-minute walk.
State police who are working with Amtrak police said no evidence has been found that he was struck by a train that day or intentionally walked into the path of an oncoming train.
Frear had been “lying low” just before his disappearance because his parents had just learned he had lost his job at Price Chopper in Glenville, where he had worked for about two months.
But Coppola said there’s no indication that anyone had a grudge against Frear.
The Frears have two other children — Matthew and Kathleen — and the family said their lives have been turned upside down since Craig disappeared and that finding him consumes them.
“You have no idea what hell the last four years have been,” said Bill Frear, Craig’s father.
“We hold out hope that he is out there. That’s what keeps up going,” said Victoria Frear. “He was a beautiful, beautiful young man, we miss him every day. We try to get through each day.”
She said her son had the same circle of friends he had from elementary school and from the soccer team.
When the family gets a lead or a call from someone who has seen someone that looks like Frear, they consciously hold themselves back from getting too excited or from putting too much into a tip. “You do build yourself up and there can be a hell of a let down,” said Veronica.
“The shine has been totally taken out of life. There is no shine, no happiness, you get through the day,” she said.
Coppola said that police continue to interview people who knew Frear and if someone has already been interviewed, they can expect to be interviewed again.
“It’s an older case, but this is a very active investigation,” said Coppola, who called the disappearance “baffling”.
“We will not stop till we find out what happened to Craig Fear. Someone out there knows what happened to him,” she said.
Trooper Maureen Tuffey said that though four years has passed, hearing about Frear may jog someone’s memory or their conscience.
Frear was 5 feet, 11 inches tall and weighed about 190 pounds with red hair, brown eyes and possibly a goatee. He was wearing blue jeans, a white, short-sleeve T-shirt, white Adidas sneakers and a gold charm with a St. Christopher medal.
The family is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to finding Craig Frear and anyone with information is asked to call state police in Loudonville at 783-3210 or Princetown at 630-1700.