Denise Ordene Fraley
Missing Person – Presumed Homicide
Denise Ordene Fraley
DOB: April 4, 1952
Weight: 115 lbs.
Height: 5′ 04″
Incident Type: Involuntary disappearance
Missing From: 107 24th Ave. SW
Cedar Rapids, IA
NCIC Number: M-141931927
Date Reported Missing: September 12, 1982
Denise Fraley was reported missing to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation on September 12, 1982.
Denise was last seen in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on September 12, 1982. She and her husband, David Fraley, were in a band and played at a private party in Cedar Rapids that evening. She disappeared afterwards and has never been heard from again.
David did not report his wife missing; Denise’s family did so over a month after her disappearance when all their efforts to contact her had been in vain.
- These maps show where Denise Fraley vanished in Sept. 1982, where Jane Wakefield disappeared in Sept. 1975 and where Lynn Schuller went missing in Aug. 1972. All three women were in volatile marriages with divorce proceedings pending. Detectives are certain all three were murdered, and though they’ve long had a prime suspect in each case, have never been able to find enough evidence to convince a prosecutor to charge any of the suspects with murder. (Maps courtesy Cedar Rapids Gazette)
Denise and David had been married for five years prior to her disappearance and have a daughter. There were episodes of violence in the marriage and at least once, Denise was hospitalized after claiming David attacked her. David filed for divorce in May 1982 and a judge granted a restraining order prohibiting him from contacting Denise or their child.
Several of Denise’s relatives in her home state of Missouri received a note from David shortly after her disappearance. The message stated “Denise Fraley: Don’t mess with the Mafia.” David explained to Denise’s family that she had tried to run off with several thousands of dollars in drug money that was not hers, and he was afraid the Mafia wanted to kill her. He stated that her family should not travel to Iowa as a result.
Denise’s family members stayed away for six months after she was reported missing as a result of David’s warning. Her mother and sister made several trips to Cedar Rapids starting in March 1983, and hired an attorney to get temporary custody of Denise and David’s daughter. While the child was living with her aunt, she stated she had seen her mother weighted down with rocks and thrown in a river.
Investigators are uncertain if the story is true, as the girl was only a toddler when her mother disappeared. The Fraleys’ divorce became final in 1984 and David was granted permanent custody of the child.
Authorities indicated that David was considered the prime suspect in his wife’s case, but he has never been charged due to a lack of evidence.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at (515) 725-6010, e-mail email@example.com, or contact the Cedar Rapids Police Department at (319) 286-5375. You may also send information to Iowa Cold Cases via our Contact form.
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