Details of Disappearance
Fraley was last known to be at or near her apartment at the Copperfield apartment complex in the 1800 block of Lowell Bethesda Road, in Gastonia, North Carolina on April 8, 2008.
She was suffering from stomach flu and had been to the hospital twice the previous day. She called her mother at around midnight and said she was sick again. At 1:30 a.m., Fraley called a friend and said someone was going to pick her up and take her back to the hospital. She has never been heard from again.
Fraley left her purse, wallet, keys and identification behind at her residence. Two days after her disappearance, a utilities worker found her cellular phone at the intersection of south New Hope Road and east Hudson Boulevard, three miles from her home.
Several phone calls were made from the phone at 4:30 a.m. the day she disappeared. None of the calls turned out to be connected to her disappearance; they were apparently from the phone's list of recent calls dialed. The phone also received a call early on the morning of April 9. Police stated that by the time they took possession of the phone, it had been handled by too many people to be valuable as evidence.
Fraley was engaged to be married at the time of her disappearance. Her fiance's father, Ricky Dale Simonds Sr., is considered a person of interest in her case.
A photograph of Simonds is posted with this case summary. He did maintenance work at the Copperfield complex, he lived two apartments over from her and was one of the last people to see her; he gave her a ride to the hospital emergency room a few hours before her disappearance, and another neighbor drove her home.
Simonds refused to take a lie detector test in Fraley's case. He has a criminal record for fraud, larceny and drug charges, and he served time in prison in the 1980s for manslaughter in connection with the strangulation death of an ex-girlfriend.
In June 2008, another ex-girlfriend found Simonds's body in the trunk of her car. The woman had filed a restraining order against him after her car was broken into and her purse and keys were stolen. When she found the body, her keys were in Simonds's pocket and her purse was in the trunk with him.
Authorities believe he hid inside the car trunk in order to ambush his ex-girlfriend, and he got trapped there and died of heat stroke. It was only after his death that police said they suspected him of involvement in Fraley's disappearance. There is no proof that he harmed her, however.
A convicted murderer named Jerry Douglas Case confessed to Fraley's murder in 2015. Case killed a seventeen-year-old boy in 1985; his death was originally ruled an accident, and Case wasn't suspected until he wrote a letter to the Gaston Gazette in 2012, confessing to the crime. He was, at the time, serving a 22-year prison sentence for killing another individual.
He was convicted of second-degree murder in 2015. Later that year, he wrote another letter to the Gaston Gazette and confessed to having killed Fraley and another Gaston woman who was shot to death in 2008. However, he was incarcerated when Fraley disappeared, and police don't believe the confessions are credible.
Fraley was a part-time student at Gaston College at the time of her disappearance; she had never used illegal drugs, but she wanted to become a drug counselor to help others.
Investigators don't believe she left of her own accord, as she had no driver's license and no transportation and it's uncharacteristic of her to leave without warning. Her fiance was incarcerated at the time of her disappearance and therefore isn't considered a suspect. Little evidence is available in her case, which remains unsolved.