When Craig Frear left his house on the morning of Sunday, June 27, 2004, his parents assumed he was going to work. The 17-year-old had been working several shifts a week at the Price Chopper grocery store in his hometown of Glenville, New York for a few months, and his mom 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, eventually finding him hanging out at a friend’s workplace. She confronted him about not working, and Craig assured her that it was all a mistake and he was going to be leaving for work shortly. Veronica believed her son and went home, but sent Craig’s father, Bill, to the grocery store later to see if Craig was really 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 scheduled shifts; rather than tell his parents, he simply 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 seen Craig that day, but Veronica was certain she was lying. When she called back a second time, his girlfriend admitted that he was there. Veronica spoke with her son and informed him that she knew he had been fired from his job; she also told him he needed to come home immediately. Craig agreed.
Craig’s girlfriend lived in the Cambridge Manor apartment complex in Scotia, New York, about ten minutes away from Craig’s home in Glenville. Craig left the apartment around 2:00 pm after telling his girlfriend and her mother that he needed to go home. His girlfriend’s mother watched through the window as Craig headed towards his car, which was parked several parking lots away from the apartment. Suddenly he stopped short, turned around, and headed off in the opposite direction.
Craig had likely seen his father, who had been driving around looking for him. Bill had spotted 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 obviously saw him. Likely wanting to avoid a public confrontation, Craig quickly 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 motioned for them to be quiet and continued on his way. His destination was unclear; Craig was never seen again.
Veronica and Bob grew concerned when Craig didn’t return home that afternoon. After speaking with his girlfriend’s mother and learning that he had headed off towards the wooded area behind the apartment complex, they worried that he might have fallen down in the woods and hurt himself. They started searching the area around 5:00 pm, but found no trace of Craig. As darkness fell, Veronica called the police and reported her son missing.
Veronica told investigators that it was uncharacteristic of Craig to disappear without telling anyone, but admitted that she had confronted him earlier that day about the fact that he had been lying about being employed. At first, it seemed that Craig had simply decided to spend some time on his own so he could figure out what he wanted to say to his parents, but as days went by without any sign of him, investigators agreed that something was wrong.
Craig had finished his junior year at Scotia-Glenville High School shortly before he went missing. He was a good student and was popular with his classmates. He had been selected as one of the varsity soccer captains for the upcoming school year, and had several colleges looking to recruit him to play soccer. He was known as a good kid from a good family; he had no criminal record or behavioral problems, and he seemed to get along with everyone.
Craig’s parents had noticed that he was acting somewhat secretive in the weeks leading up to his disappearance. He seemed to be slightly depressed and started spending most of his time at home instead of going out with his friends like he usually did. He had apparently stopped going to work as well, though he continued to act as if he were working several shifts a week.
Investigators conducted numerous searches of the woods near the Cambridge Manor apartments as well as of the Mohawk River, but never found any clues as to Craig’s whereabouts. Although he had last been seen walking near some railroad tracks, detectives found nothing to indicate he had been hit by a train, and they do not believe that he was suicidal.
Detectives don’t believe that Craig planned to disappear; although it was clear he was trying to avoid a confrontation with his father, he likely intended to return 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 cell phone and wallet behind, along with about $40 in cash. He had lost his driver’s license shortly before he disappeared and had not yet obtained a duplicate copy, so he had no identification on him.
One of Craig’s former co-workers came forward and told investigators that he believed he saw Craig several 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 unable to provide a description of the vehicle, which turned left onto Sheffield Road, but he was certain that the person he saw was Craig. Investigators were unable to confirm the sighting, but if it had been Craig, it would indicate that he remained in the Glenville area for at least a few days after he was reported missing.
In the years since Craig disappeared, there have been numerous rumors about the case but little physical evidence. Some people believe that Craig simply ran away to start 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 certain that Craig had no intentions of disappearing.
Some people believed that Craig had been harmed by his father, but detectives are adamant that there is no evidence to support this rumor. Bill, like all the other people who were closest to Craig, voluntarily submitted to a polygraph examination early in the investigation and passed without problems. Bill was devastated by his son’s disappearance, and he died in 2017 without ever knowing what happened to him.
Investigators have conducted more than 70 searches in and around the area where Craig was last seen; the most recent search took place in June 2021 and covered an area south of the railroad tracks where Craig had reportedly been seen walking. Search dogs have also been used to cover the route that Craig likely would have taken home as well as various places that he was known to frequent, but to date no clues to Craig’s whereabouts have been found.
Investigators believe that there was someone at the Price Chopper that Craig was trying to avoid; for some reason, he wasn’t comfortable talking about it with his parents and had decided it was easier to just pretend he was still working there. There were many rumors suggesting that Craig had been in a relationship with someone there, but investigators were unable to verify this. They also found nothing to suggest that Craig was involved in any kind of illegal activities; it does not appear that drugs played a role in his disappearance.
Although detectives still aren’t sure exactly what happened to Craig, they do not believe that he will be found alive. They think he would have contacted his family by now if he were able to do so; the fact that he hasn’t likely indicates that he is deceased. Even after 17 years, his case is open and is being actively 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 situation, wondering if there was anything she could have done differently that might have led to a different outcome. She and Craig’s brother, Matthew, have been very active with missing person organizations and continue to do everything they can to make sure 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 seen 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 information about Craig, please contact the New York State Police at 518–630–1700 or toll-free at 800–448–3847.