The Mysterious Disappearance of Craig Frear
He walked into a wooded region and disappeared without a trace.
When Craig Frear left his home on the morning of Sunday, June 27, 2004, his parents thought he was going to work. The 17-year-old had been working many shifts a week at the Price Chopper grocery store in his hometown of Glenville, New York for a few months, and his mum saw him carry his uniform shirt out to his car. Yet when Veronica Frear stopped by the Price Chopper to pick up some groceries a few hours later, her son wasn’t there.
Veronica left the Price Chopper and went looking for her son, finally discovering him hanging out at a friend’s workplace. She confronted him about not working, and Craig convinced her that it was all a blunder and he was going to be leaving for work soon. Veronica believed her son and went home, but sent Craig’s dad, Bill, to the grocery store later to see if Craig was there. He wasn’t. It turned out that Craig had been fired from Price Chopper more than a month earlier after he stopped showing up for his due shifts; rather than tell his parents, he just pretended he was still employed.
Veronica knew that Craig had a new girlfriend, so she called her house to see if he had gone there. His girlfriend initially said that she hadn’t noticed Craig that day, but Veronica was sure she was lying. When she called back a second time, his girlfriend confessed that he was there. Veronica spoke with her son and told him that she knew he had been fired from his job; she also told him he needed to come home instantly. Craig agreed.
Craig’s girlfriend lived in the Cambridge Manor apartment complex in Scotia, New York, about ten minutes away from Craig’s house in Glenville. Craig left the apartment around 2:00 pm after telling his girlfriend and her mum that he needed to go home. His girlfriend’s mum watched through the window as Craig headed towards his car, which was parked many parking lots away from the apartment. Unexpectedly he stopped short, turned around, and headed off in the opposing direction.
Craig had likely seen his dad, who had been driving around looking for him. Bill had sighted his son’s car and had been standing next to it when Craig left his girlfriend’s apartment. Bill never saw his son, but Craig saw him. Likely wishing to avoid a public conflict, Craig rapidly veered off in the other direction.
A group of teenagers saw Craig a few minutes later; he was walking along the railroad tracks that ran behind the Cambridge Manor apartments. The teens called out to him, but he gestured for them to be quiet and continued on his way. His destination was uncertain; Craig was never noticed again.
Veronica and Bob grew worried when Craig didn’t come back home that afternoon. After speaking with his girlfriend’s mum and learning that he had headed off towards the wooded region behind the apartment complex, they were concerned that he might have fallen in the woods and hurt himself. They began searching the region around 5:00 pm but discovered no trace of Craig. As darkness fell, Veronica called the police and reported her son missing.
Veronica notified investigators that it was uncharacteristic of Craig to vanish without notifying anyone, but confessed that she had confronted him earlier that day about the fact that he had been telling an untruth about being employed. At first, it appeared that Craig had just decided to spend some time on his own so he could figure out what he expected to say to his parents, but as days went by without any clue from him, investigators acknowledged that something was wrong.
Craig had finished his junior year at Scotia-Glenville High School shortly before he went missing. He was a decent student and was famous to his classmates. He had been selected as one of the varsity soccer captains for the upcoming school year and had many colleges looking to recruit him to play soccer. He was recognized as a good child from a good family; he had no criminal record or behavioral issues, and he appeared to get along with everyone.
Craig’s parents had noticed that he was behaving somewhat mysterious in the weeks leading up to his disappearance. He appeared to be slightly depressed and began spending most of his time at home instead of going out with his friends like he normally did. He had stopped going to work as well, though he proceeded to act as if he were working many shifts a week.
Investigators performed many searches of the woods near the Cambridge Manor apartments as well as of the Mohawk River but never discovered any clues as to Craig’s whereabouts. Although he had last been noticed walking near some railroad tracks, detectives discovered nothing to suggest he had been hit by a train, and they do not think that he was suicidal.
Detectives don’t believe that Craig planned to vanish; although it was obvious he was trying to avoid a conflict with his dad, he likely intended to come back to his car once he had time to think things through. Except for his car keys, he didn’t have anything with him when he entered the woods. He left his phone and wallet behind, along with about $40 in cash. He had lost his driver’s license soon before he vanished and had not yet obtained a duplicate copy, so he had no identification on him.
One of Craig’s former co-workers came ahead and told investigators that he believed he saw Craig many days after he went missing. He claimed that Craig was in the passenger seat of a vehicle that was stopped at a traffic light on Route 50 near the Glenville Price Chopper. He was incapable to describe the vehicle, which turned left onto Sheffield Road, but he was sure that the person he saw was Craig. Investigators were incapable to verify the sighting, but if it had been Craig, it would suggest that he remained in the Glenville region for at least a few days after he was reported missing.
In the years since Craig vanished, there have been many rumors about the case but little physical evidence. Some people think that Craig simply ran away to begin a new life somewhere, but his family and investigators do not believe this is likely. Craig was close with his parents and siblings and had been looking forward to his senior year of high school and starting college. They are sure that Craig had no motives for disappearing.
Some people thought that Craig had been harmed by his dad, but detectives determined that there is no indication to support this rumor. Bill, like all the other people who were closest to Craig, voluntarily submitted to a polygraph analysis early in the investigation and passed without difficulties. Bill was shattered by his son’s disappearance, and he passed away in 2017 without ever realizing what occurred to him.
Investigators have performed more than 70 searches in and around the region where Craig was last seen; the most recent search took place in June 2021 and covered a region south of the railroad tracks where Craig had reportedly been noticed walking. Search dogs have also been used to cover the way that Craig likely would have taken home as well as various places that he was known to frequent, but to date, no indications of Craig’s whereabouts have been discovered.
Investigators think that there was someone at the Price Chopper that Craig was attempting to avoid; for some reason, he wasn’t comfortable talking about it with his parents and had decided it was simpler to just pretend he was still working there. Several rumors were suggesting that Craig had been in a connection with someone there, but investigators were incapable to substantiate this. They also discovered nothing to suggest that Craig was involved in any sort of illegal activities; it does not seem that drugs played a role in his disappearance.
Although detectives still aren’t confident exactly what happened to Craig, they do not believe that he will be found alive. They think he would have reached his family by now if he were able to do so; the fact that he hasn’t likely implies that he is deceased. Even after 17 years, his case is open and is being energetically investigated by the New York State Police.
Veronica has never stopped searching for her son. She stated in a recent television interview that she still loses sleep over the circumstance, wondering if there was anything she could have done differently that might have led to a different result. She and Craig’s brother, Matthew, have been very active with missing person organizations and proceed to do everything they can to make certain the public doesn’t forget that Craig is still missing.
Craig Frear was 17 years old when he went missing in 2004. He has brown eyes and red hair, and at the time of his disappearance, he was 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighed 190 pounds. He was last noticed wearing jeans, a white T-shirt, and white Adidas sneakers with three black stripes. He was also wearing a gold chain with a St. Christopher medal. If you have any data about Craig, please contact the New York State Police at 518–630–1700 or toll-free at 800–448–3847