The search for Craig Frear is going national.
Two Schenectadians got widespread attention for the local missing youth case last year by entering the reality show “Fireball Run.” It combines reality-television competitions with efforts to pass out posters describing missing children.
This year, they’re doing it again, even though the race is in California. The hope is that local viewers will still tune in and, perhaps, call with the crucial tip that leads to Frear.
seeking interest, tips
Last year’s effort didn’t bring in hundreds of tips, state police Investigator Gloria Coppola said. “We generated a lot of interest, but it did not develop into rock-solid leads,” she said. “The attention to the case was wonderful.”
Shortly afterward, the family passed out 1,000 posters asking local large-property owners to search their land for any signs of Frear’s remains.
“We got several leads from that,” she said, including a location where workers will dig next spring. Spring is the best time to dig, she added. There’s no guarantee that anything will be found — a dig this spring turned up only animal bones.
But the state police are still looking.
Frear disappeared June 27, 2004. He was 17.
At this point, Coppola believes Frear was killed within “a few hours” of his disappearance. But no one knows what happened to him, and his remains have never been found.
last seen in scotia
He was last seen walking into the woods behind Cambridge Manor in Scotia, a short walk from his Schenectady residence. He appeared to have ducked into the woods to avoid a confrontation with his parents, who had just learned that he had been fired from his job at Price Chopper.
Frear might not have known he was fired — his managers simply crossed him off a list when he stopped showing up for work, Coppola said.
But for the last two months of the school year, he pretended to go to work, fooling his parents. When he mother stopped by and found out he wasn’t there, she called him at his new girlfriend’s house. He promised to come home and talk, Coppola said.
His father found his car, parked near his girlfriend’s house, and waited there for Frear. When Frear stepped outside and caught a glimpse of his father, he slipped away before his father saw him.
According to two children who were playing behind an apartment building, Frear walked onto the railroad tracks, gesturing to them to shush when they called out his name, Coppola said.
He was never seen again.
Coppola thinks the reason Frear left Price Chopper is at the heart of the mystery.
“That was the catalyst for all this,” she said, speculating that he stopped going to work to avoid someone he met at the store — maybe a customer or a trucker. He had been friendly with the truckers, she said.
City Councilman Carl Erikson and local business owner Richard Ruzzo will be passing out flyers about Frear during the Fireball Run. Ruzzo runs Shepherd Communication and Security, a security alarm company.
The show starts Friday. Episodes can be seen online at www.fireballrun.com/.