Cedar Rapids Woman Has Been Missing Nearly 40 Years
She was never reported missing by her husband and nearly four decades later, her family still doesn't have closure.
Denise Fraley (Stark) was just 30 years old when she and her husband played in a band at a private event on Saturday, September 11, 1982. Early the next morning, she vanished. It would be more than a month later before she was reported missing, and not by her husband.
According to a Gazette article from 1992 posted by Iowa Cold Cases, David Fraley, who Denise had married seven years earlier, never reported her missing. Denise was actually reported missing by her mother Nadine on October 18, 1982... 36 days after she had last been seen. However, her family had no idea she was missing. Nadine had called the family home to talk to her daughter and when she asked for her daughter, she claimed she was hung up on. Nadine then called the Cedar Rapids Police Department, asking for a welfare check.
Denise's family didn't come to Iowa, though. They claimed Dave Fraley, who had filed for divorce from Denise four months earlier, told them his wife had left with thousands of dollars in drug money and that he thought the Mafia was after her. He also told Denise's family he believed the Mafia wouldn't like it if they came to Cedar Rapids seeking answers. As a result, they stayed away.
In March of 1983, six months after Denise had disappeared, her mom and sister finally got the courage to travel to Cedar Rapids. They hired a private investigator and convinced the Cedar Rapids Police Department to reopen the investigation into Denise's disappearance. They also hired an attorney and sought custody of Denise and Dave's daughter, Haley Jo, who Denise had already sought custody of before her disappearance.
The Fraley's divorce was finalized in January of 1984. Custody of Haley Jo was given to Dave Fraley.
Denise Fraley, the valedictorian of her Missouri high school class, disappeared on September 12, 1982. 39 years later, there are still no answers. Her mother, Nadine, who was born in Cedar Rapids in 1931, passed away in 2013. Her obituary said she was preceded in death by her daughter, Denise.