How Did Roger Essem, Michael Hadrath, Stewart, and Dana Baade Die?
South Dakota residents Roger Norman Essem, 17, Michael Robert Hadrath, 15, and Stewart W. Baade, 18, were all classmates at Washington High School in Sioux Falls, which is located in Minnehaha County, in the year 1973. They were all close friends. Dana E. Baade, Stewart’s younger sister who was 14 years old at the time, was a pupil at the Patrick Henry Junior High School. On November 17, 1973, four teenagers, along with Roger’s girlfriend Sandra Cheskey, who was 13 at the time, had taken Stewart’s blue van and gone out into the woods on the Iowa-South Dakota border east of Sioux Falls. At the time, they had no idea that it was going to be one of the darkest days in Iowa’s history. Sandra Cheskey was shot and killed by Stewart.
Gitchie Manitou State Preserve was a park in Iowa that had not been developed much, but it was a popular place for people to go hiking and for underage youths to throw beer parties. According to the accounts, on the evening of November 17, the five of them walked out to the park in order to hang out around a campfire while smoking marijuana and playing guitars. Sandra was returned home after being kidnapped and raped by the culprits who were responsible for the murders of her boyfriend and his friends. That was the last time any of the four lads were seen alive. Sandra’s boyfriend and his friends were all killed.
A couple who were traveling through the park in their brand-new car on November 18 made the discovery of the dead bodies of the Baade brothers and Michael. The body of Roger was found the following day at the campground where they had been staying. All of the victims had gunshot wounds consistent with shotgun fire, according to the preliminary findings of the medical examiner’s assessment. According to the reports from the autopsies, the victims had obvious signs of having been shot from very close range, such as gaping holes on their corpses.
Who Killed Roger Essem, Michael Hadrath, Stewart, and Dana Baade?
At the scene of the crime, the investigators discovered spent shell casings from three distinct gauges of shotguns: 12 gauge, 16 gauge, and 20 gauge shotguns. As a result, they arrived at the conclusion that they needed to search for three killers. They also saw that Stewart’s 1967 blue van was also missing from the site, and the appropriate authorities were contacted to be on the lookout for the vehicle. If it weren’t for Sandra, the only one who made it out alive, all of those leads would have turned out to be dead ends.
Sandra came out to recount the tragic events that took place on the evening of November 17 when she learned that all four of her close friends had been killed in the incident. She related how they had been relaxing by the campfire when they were aware of some sounds nearby. Roger went to check, but he was fatally injured as a result of his actions. The gang was then confronted by three males who pretended to be narcotics officers and approached them. They then proceeded to walk them away from the campsite while brandishing guns, and one of them pushed Sandra to get into their vehicle.
According to Sandra’s testimony, this was the last time she had contact with any of her friends who were still living. It was hypothesized by the investigators that the other criminals had carried out the murders of the boys while one of them drove Sandra to a property not far from Hartford. About an hour later, the other two guys joined them, and shortly thereafter, one of them sexually assaulted her before she was dropped off at her house by one of the murders, who supposedly felt sorrow for her after learning that she was only 13 years old.
Sandra contributed to the inquiry by constantly retelling the terrible details, and she even accompanied the officers in their vehicles while they searched for the individuals responsible for the crime. In addition to that, she assisted the police in drawing preliminary sketches of the murderers. On November 29, 1973, Sandra observed a large red gasoline tank on a farm. The date was noted as November 29. She recognized the tank because she had a clear recollection of the assailants filling the tank of their car with gas from another tank of the same kind that was located at the farm where she had been taken that night.
Sandra was keeping an eye on the tank when she noticed a person driving the identical truck in which she had been kidnapped approximately a week and a half earlier. She quickly informed the authorities of what she had seen. The guy identified as Allen Earl Fryer, 29, as well as the other two offenders, were both apprehended by law enforcement officers. David Fryer, age 24, and his brother James Fryer, age 21, both of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, were eventually identified as the suspects. On December 1, 1973, the guys were charged with four counts of murder for their involvement in the incident.
Where Are Allen, David, and James Fryer Now?
The investigation revealed that Allen was the one who had abducted Sandra, and James was the one who had sexually assaulted her. After that, Allen had taken her back to her house, despite the fact that he had already promised his brothers that he would get rid of her. Sandra was the main witness for the prosecution, and her testimony was important in securing convictions for all three defendants. Allen was found guilty on all four counts of first-degree murder on May 20, 1974, and he was given a sentence of four consecutive life sentences for each count.
On February 12, 1974, David entered a guilty plea to three counts of murder, one count of manslaughter, and an open charge of murder. He had already admitted to these crimes. He will spend the rest of his life in prison without the hope of ever being released. Both Allen and James were apprehended after their escape from the Lyon County Jail, which took place in Gillette, Wyoming. James was found guilty on all charges against him on December 30, 1974, and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In light of the fact that James was already sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release, the District Attorney made the decision to drop the rape accusation in order to spare Sandra the ordeal of going through a rape trial. According to the official documents filed with the court, Allen is presently serving his term in the Iowa State Penitentiary, which is located in Fort Madison, Iowa. Meanwhile, the other two brothers are incarcerated at the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility, also located in Fort Dodge, Iowa.