Gitchie Manitou Murders: Where Are Allen, David, and James Fryer Now?

Image Credit: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Investigation Discovery’s ‘No One Can Hear You Scream: Gitchie Manitou Massacre’ enacts the brutal murder of four teenagers at Gitchie Manitou State Preserve in Sioux Falls, Iowa, in November 1973. The investigators were finally able to catch the perpetrators based on the testimony of a survivor. If you want to learn more about the case as well as the identities and current whereabouts of the perpetrators, we’ve you covered.

How Did Roger Essem, Michael Hadrath, Stewart, and Dana Baade Die?

In 1973, South Dakota natives Roger Norman Essem, 17, Michael Robert Hadrath, 15, and Stewart W. Baade, 18, were buddies who studied together at the Washington High School in Sioux Falls in Minnehaha County. Stewart’s 14-year-old sibling, Dana E. Baade, was a student at the Patrick Henry Junior High School. The four teenagers, along with Roger’s girlfriend, Sandra Cheskey, then 13, had taken Stewart’s blue van and gone out to the woods on the Iowa-South Dakota border east of Sioux Falls on November 17, 1973, with no clue it was going down to be one of the darkest days in Iowa’s history.

Sandra Cheskey//Image Credit: Oxygen

Gitchie Manitou State Preserve was an underdeveloped Iowa park where people went for hikes and underaged teens held beer parties. The five of them went out to the park on the evening of November 17 to hang out around a campfire with guitars and marijuana, as per reports. That was the last time the four boys were seen alive, while Sandra was returned home after being kidnapped and raped by the perpetrators who committed the murders of her boyfriend and his mates.

The bodies of the Baade brothers and Michael was discovered on November 18 by a couple driving their new car in the park. Roger’s body was discovered the following day at the campsite. A preliminary examination by the medical examiner revealed that all of them had gunshot wounds from shotguns. The autopsy reports stated that the gaping wounds on the bodies indicated that the victims had been shot from close range.

Who Killed Roger Essem, Michael Hadrath, Stewart, and Dana Baade?

Investigators found spent shell casings of 3 different types of shotguns at the crime scene – 12-, 16-, and 20-gauge shotguns. Hence, they deduced that they were looking for three murderers. They also noted that Stewart’s 1967 blue van was also missing from the scene and relevant authorities were informed to be on the lookout for the vehicle. All of them would have turned out to be cold leads if not for the survivor, Sandra.

Alan Fryer, David Fryer, and James Fryer//Image Credit: Oxygen

Upon discovering all four of her friends dead, Sandra came forward to narrate the events that transpired on the fateful night of November 17. She recounted how they had been chilling by the campfire when they heard sounds and Roger went to investigate only to be shot. The group was then approached by three men under the guise of narcotics officers. They proceeded to walk them from the campsite at gunpoint, and one of them forced Sandra into their truck.

Sandra testified that it was the last time she had seen her friends alive. Investigators theorized that the remaining perpetrators had proceeded to execute the boys while one of them took Sandra to a farmhouse near Hartford. The other two men joined them about an hour later, and one of them went on to sexually assault her before she was dropped home by one of the killers who allegedly took pity on her after hearing she was only 13.

Sandra helped with the investigation by narrating the gruesome details repeatedly and even accompanied officers in their vehicles to look for the perpetrators. She helped the police to draw rough sketches of the killers as well. On November 29, 1973, Sandra spotted a big red gasoline tank on a farm. She knew the tank because she vividly remembered that the killers had filled the tank of their vehicle from one such tank in the farm where she was taken to that night.

As Sandra watched the tank, she saw an individual driving the same truck that she had been kidnapped in about 12 days before and immediately alerted the officers. Officers caught the individual named Allen Earl Fryer, 29, and the other two perpetrators were also caught. They were later identified as David Fryer, 24, and James Fryer, 21 of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. On December 1, 1973, the men were charged with four counts of murder.

Allen, David, and James Fryer Remain Incarcerated Today

Investigators found out that it was Allen who had kidnapped Sandra and James who had raped her. Allen then proceeded to drive her home, promising his brothers that he was going to get rid of her. Sandra was the primary witness of the prosecution and played a key role in getting all three of them convicted. On May 20, 1974, Allen was convicted on four counts of first-degree murder and handed a sentence of 4 consecutive life terms.

David had already pled guilty to 3 charges of murder, one count of manslaughter, and an open charge of murder on February 12, 1974. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Allen and James escaped from the Lyon County Jail but got arrested in Gillette, Wyoming. On December 30, 1974, James was convicted of 3 charges of first-degree murder and one charge of manslaughter.

Since James was already handed a life sentence without parole, the District Attorney decided to skip the rape charge to let Sandra not go through a rape trial. As per official court records, Allen is currently incarcerated at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, Iowa, while the other two brothers are serving their sentence at the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Read More: Where is Survivor Sandra Cheskey Now?