When 22-year-old Jamie Fraley went missing from her Gastonia, North Carolina, home on April 8, 2008, the cops left no stones unturned in their investigation. Shortly after, detectives fixated on Ricky Simonds Sr., the father of Jamie’s fiance. Crime Junkies’ ‘Missing: Jamie Fraley’ chronicles the incident and shows how Simonds Sr. was found dead a couple of months after Jamie disappeared. Let’s delve into the details surrounding the case and find out more, shall we?
How Did Ricky Simonds Sr. Die?
Interestingly, at the time of Jamie’s disappearance, Ricky Simonds Sr. resided in the same apartment building as his son and fiancee. Although the podcast mentioned that Simonds Sr. was quite obsessed with Jamie Fraley, he was generally helpful and even drove the 22-year-old to a few appointments as she did not have a driver’s license. Moreover, surprisingly, both Simonds Sr. and Simonds Jr. had criminal records, as the former was previously convicted of manslaughter after strangling an ex-girlfriend. At the same time, Simonds Jr. was sentenced to 15 months for theft in 2007.
On April 8, 2008, Jamie called a relative up and complained about a stomach ache for which she needed to go to the hospital. Subsequently, she visited the hospital twice, and Ricky Simonds Sr. drove her there the second time. Although she did not return with Simonds Sr., witnesses saw Jamie enter her home around midnight, looking alive and well. However, in a strange turn of events, one of Jamie’s friends received a call from her at around 1:30 am, where Jamie mentioned that she was going to go to the hospital again. Besides, the 22-year-old even said that a male was driving her, although she never divulged the name. That was the last anyone ever saw or heard from Jamie, as she completely disappeared and has not been traced to this very day.
Once the police were informed of Jamie’s disappearance the following they, they set about mounting a massive search operation. Although Jamie’s phone was soon recovered about a mile from her apartment, it did not provide any clues about her whereabouts, and detectives found themselves back on square one. Ultimately, by conducting several interviews, investigators learned that Simonds Sr. was one of the last individuals to see Jamie alive. On the other hand, he even had a previous manslaughter conviction, making him the primary suspect in this case. However, when the police approached him, Simonds Sr. insisted on his innocence and even refused to take a polygraph. However, a strange turn of events soon stopped the investigation in its tracks.
On June 7, 2008, one of Simonds Sr.’s ex-girlfriends smelt a foul odor from her car’s trunk. The woman in question, Kim Sprenger, had a protective order against Simonds Sr., and so was quite surprised to find him in her trunk once she popped it open. However, when discovered, Simonds Sr. had already passed away, and an autopsy determined that a heat stroke caused death.
Where Is Ricky Simonds Jr. Now?
Since Simonds Jr. was in prison at the time of Jamie’s disappearance, he never came under the police’s radar as a suspect. Moreover, once released from jail, he was very cooperative and helped the missing person investigation in whatever way he could. Interestingly, when Simonds Sr. was found dead, Simonds Jr. mentioned that his father was more like a friend to him. However, he could not rule out the suspicion of his father’s alleged involvement in Jamie’s disappearance.
Although Ricky Simonds Jr. is originally from Gastonia, he currently seems to have settled down in Shelby, North Carolina, where he earns a living through self-employment. Unfortunately, since Jamie’s disappearance, Simonds Jr. has preferred to keep his personal life under wraps. Yet, his social media indicates that he might be in a relationship at present.