It was chilly and raining in Cincinnati, Ohio, on the night of Thursday, October 11, 2001, when good friends Frank Drees and Vicki Waters decided to go to a neighborhood bar to have a few drinks. Things got tense when one of Vicki’s ex-boyfriends showed up at the bar and confronted her; eventually, the ex was kicked out of the bar. Vicki seemed to be okay after he left, and she and Frank remained at the bar until it closed at 2:00 am.
Frank and Vicki asked a friend if she could give them a ride back to Frank’s house; he lived only a mile away from the bar. She agreed, but told them that she needed to use the restroom first and would meet them outside when she was finished. She was only in the restroom for a couple of minutes, but when she went outside she was unable to find Frank or Vicki. She assumed they had either gotten a ride with someone else or had decided to walk home.
It’s still unclear if Frank and Vicki left the bar on foot or in a car, but they did make it safely back to Frank’s home on Quebec Avenue. They only got as far as his front porch, however, before they were gunned down by an unknown assailant who then fled off into the night. Neighbors reported hearing gunshots but none of them saw the k*iller.
Emergency personnel responded to the home shortly before 3:00 am and were met with a gruesome scene. Both Frank and Vicki had been shot in the head in what appeared to be an execution-style attack. Frank was already de*ad when paramedics arrived, but Vicki was still clinging to life. She was rushed to University Hospital, where doctors worked frantically to save her life. She was gravely wounded, however, and they did not expect her to recover.
When Frank’s family and friends found out that he had been ki*lled, they were heartbroken. He was known for being very friendly, and people often called him a “gentle giant.” He never yelled or got into fights with other people, and no one knew who his enemies were. It was hard to understand how he could have been kil*led on his own front porch.
Her family didn’t find out about the shooting until late Friday morning. Vicki had planned to spend Thursday night at her daughter’s house, but she had to change her mind at the last minute because she couldn’t find a ride. Dee, her daughter, had to go to court on Friday morning to talk about child support, and Vicki had promised to go with her.
When Dee didn’t hear from her mom that morning, she thought maybe she had slept in. Vicki wasn’t at home when she went to check on her. Because Dee had to get to court on time, she sent her grandmother with her. Not long after they got home, the police called to say that Vicki had been hurt.
The police officer couldn’t tell them anything about Vicki’s condition, so her family rushed her to the hospital in the hopes that she would be okay. They were told by a nurse that Vicki’s outlook wasn’t good because she had been shot in the head and the damage to her brain could not be fixed. Her parents had to make the terrible choice of turning off her life support. The police said Vicki was de*ad at 7:30 pm on Friday. She was only 42 years old.
Investigators didn’t have much to work with at the start. There were no witnesses to the violent crime, but some neighbors said they saw a black man leaving the area quickly after gunshots were heard. A person who knew him said he was over 6 feet tall and weighed about 230 pounds. No one ever found out who he was, and it’s likely he had nothing to do with the mur*ders. He most likely had just arrived in the area and started running because the sound of gunfire scared him.
Vicki’s ex-boyfriend was questioned soon after the m*urder. Friends and family thought he was the most likely suspect because he had talked to Vicki just hours before she died. He was questioned, but then let go, and has never been named a suspect in the double mur*der.
It was also not clear why the mu*rder happened. Frank’s wallet and Vicki’s fanny pack, which she carried around as a purse, were both still there. The ki*ller never went inside Frank’s house and nothing was taken from the porch. It looked like the kil*ler’s only goal was to k*ill Frank and Vicki.
People said that Frank was the kind of person that everyone wanted to be friends with. Someone who was always happy to see you and willing to make you feel at ease. He had been seeing the same woman for seven years and become a father figure to her daughters. He had never been married and didn’t have any kids.
Frank’s mother, Kitty, said that he did use drugs sometimes, but he never showed any signs of being violent. “I believe Frank only wanted to fit in. He was a good person who never hurt anyone and never lost his cool. There was no one in her mind who would have wanted to hurt him.
Vicki had four kids: a daughter, three sons, and a granddaughter. Six months before she died, her daughter Dee had a daughter, making Vicki a grandmother for the first time. Dee said that Vicki had always been called “mom” by all of her friends because she was so caring. She liked to read and was always willing to help others, but she also knew how to stand up for herself when someone was being mean to her.
Vicki told some of her family members in the days before she was k*illed that someone had threatened to ki*ll her. It’s not clear if she meant her violent ex-boyfriend or someone else.
The shooting scared the people who live in Frank’s Price Hill neighborhood. As a reporter asked a neighbor about the changing community, that person said, “There’s a lot of faces we don’t recognize and it’s quickly changing out here.” They were afraid that the shooting was an act of violence done for no reason and that any of them could be the next target.
Detectives weren’t sure why the ki*ller did what they did, but they thought it was likely that they knew Frank or Vicki; they didn’t think it was a random act. Frank seemed to have been shot first, which gave Vicki a moment to figure out what was going on. Shane Richardson, her brother, said, “She looked like she was running away, so they shot her and left her for d*ead.” It was an awful thought.
The police also didn’t know how Frank and Vicki got to Frank’s house that night. At first, they thought the two had walked there from the bar because the friend they had asked to drive them home couldn’t find them. It rained hard that night, though, and their clothes were dry when they were found. It looks like they were able to get there with someone, but that person has never been found.
Few physical clues and no eyewitnesses were found at the crime scene, so investigators never really got anywhere in their search for the k*iller. The case was put away in the cold case almost right away and stayed there for years. By 2020, Frank and Vicki’s family and friends had had enough of not knowing what was going on. They made flyers about the case and put them up all over the Cincinnati area. They also made a Facebook page about the mu*rder that hasn’t been solved and asked people on social media to share information about it.
As volunteers worked to generate new leads for investigators, they caught the attention of the local news media. Several newspaper articles, television news stories, and a podcast about the case helped spread the word that the person responsible for ki*lling Frank and Vicki had never been found. Family and friends hoped that the renewed attention would result in the development of new leads, though to date the case remains unsolved.
Frank Drees was 37 years old when he was mur*dered in 2001. He was a sweet and gentle man who was always smiling and making jokes. People instantly felt comfortable around him; he never raised his voice and was known as a gentle giant.
Vicki Waters was 42 years old when she was mu*rdered alongside Frank in 2001. She was known as a community mom and was always willing to help anyone out. She was funny and had a great sense of humor, and had been thrilled when she became a grandmother six months before she was ki*lled.
The person responsible for k*illing Frank and Vicki has never been found; the person who drove them back to Frank’s house from the bar that night has also remained a mystery. Cr*ime Stoppers is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest in this case. If you know anything about the mur*der of Frank and Vicki, call Crime Stoppers at 513–352–3040. You can remain anonymous.