Details of Disappearance
Fred was last seen in his hometown of Canyon, Texas on July 25, 1998. His friend Gerald Ross Dooley told authorities that he drove Fred back to his family's residence during the evening hours. Fred's parents were out of town at the time. His father said he last spoke to Fred via telephone at approximately 11:00 p.m. Fred has never been heard from again.
Fred's parents were unable to reach him after the evening of July 25. They returned home shortly afterwards and reported their son missing on July 30. Investigators discovered Fred's 1998 Dodge Neon later that week. The vehicle was abandoned on Snake Road off Pondasetta Road in Randall County, Texas. The car's ashtray and keys were missing, as was a shotgun Fred normally kept in the trunk. Authorities said that there was no indication of foul play at the scene. An extensive search of the surrounding areas produced no clues as to Fred's whereabouts.
Investigators received several tips from an anonymous informant approximately two weeks after Fred disappeared. The individual claimed that Fred was alive and remained in the Canyon area. One of his friends believed that she saw Fred driving a vehicle near Canyon around the same time. Fred's parents said it's uncharacteristic of him to leave without warning. His father said that Fred was hiding from an unidentified individual in late July 1998. Fred did not elaborate as to why he needed to conceal himself from this person, nor did he mention the individual's name. Investigators speculated that Fred may have been suicidal at the time of his disappearance. His parents denied this theory; they believed foul play was involved in their son's case.
Since Fred's disappearance he hasn't used his Social Security number, hasn't renewed his driver's license and hasn't been arrested anywhere in the United States. His parents moved to Virginia after he went missing. His father died in 2004 and his mother in 2008; in their obituaries, Fred was listed as having survived them. He was a student at Amarillo Christian School in 1998, about to enter his senior year.
In November 2011, thirteen years after Fred's disappearance, Dooley and another man, Mario Campos, were charged with capital murder in his case. Photos of both men are posted below this case summary. Dooley admitted that the story about dropping Fred off at his home was a lie and he had in fact killed him at the residence during a robbery; they wanted his shotgun. He struck a deal with prosecutors, agreeing to testify against Campos in exchange for a ten-year sentence. At Campos's trial in the summer of 2013, Dooley testified about the murder in detail, saying Campos had strangled Fred with an electrical cord, and the two men dumped his body in a trash bin, concealed under a piece of cardboard. Campos was convicted of the murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Fred's body has not been found, but foul play is suspected in his case due to the circumstances involved.
Left: Mario Campos;
Right: Gerald Dooley