The search for Levi Frady started 20 years ago with the discovery of a red bicycle the color of a toy fire truck.
His twin sister, 11-year-old Laci, found the all-too familiar single speed on Thursday, Oct. 23, 1997, off Little Mill Road — the day after Levi went missing. Laci and their mother, Marilyn Weaver, spotted it about a mile from the family’s home in north Forsyth County.
The North Forsyth Middle School boy had left his Burruss Mill Road residence the day before, having told Weaver (then, Marilyn Parkman) he was going to do homework at a friend’s house. He was expected home at 6:30 p.m. Suspicion grew as the night wore on. Eventually, she contacted authorities.
It was just a week before Halloween, and while kids Levi’s age in Forsyth were planning out their costumes, dreaming about candy and strategizing their Oct. 31 routes through local neighborhoods, the family of Levi Frady waited at home fearing the worst, yet holding onto hope their little boy would return to them.
Instead, on a cold and windy Thursday afternoon in Dawson Forest, hunters discovered Levi’s body a few miles across the Forsyth County line —about 20 miles from his home.
“It all happened here,” then Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle told a Forsyth County News reporter Oct. 24, 1997. The wooded area off Ga. Hwy. 9 was not only a murderer’s dumping ground; it was the spot where Levi died of gunshot wounds.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Frady’s homicide is still an unsolved case. The Dawson County Sheriff’s office, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office and the GBI Regional Office in Cleveland continue to investigate two decades later.
Kim Williams, GBI special agent in charge in northeast Georgia, said that, to this day, leads still develop with the case.
“We consistently work with [leads] and follow leads and talk with local agencies of Dawson and Forsyth County in an effort to find a resolution,” Williams said, adding that while there haven’t been any major breaks in the case “there have been substantial leads that have been followed and continue to be followed.”
Added Williams: “The big takeaway is that GBI, Forsyth and Dawson all want to solve this case and hold someone responsible for Levi’s death, and we are interested in any information the public has … relating to the day he disappeared and when he was found.”
The GBI’s website describes two possible witnesses — one who was seen walking along Little Mill Road in Forsyth County the day Levi was reported missing, and another who was seen in the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area. The first man was described as a white male in his late 50s with a scruffy gray beard. The second person was a white male, about 45 to 55 years old, clean shaven and about 6 feet tall.
Left: Witness One was last seen walking along Little Mill Road in Forsyth County at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22, the day Levi was reported missing. Right: Witness Two was seen in the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area.
Following his abduction and murder, authorities partnered with the boy’s family and created a public alert system in his honor — Levi’s Call — which is Georgia’s version of the Amber Alert (a 9-year-old Texas girl abducted and killed in 1996).
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s website, Levi’s Call is “designed to get the word out to the public … within minutes of a confirmed abduction. Its goal is simple: Locate a child and an abductor quickly before any harm comes to the child.”
It is an investigative tool that can be activated only by local law enforcement agencies through a request to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Despite many interviews and tips, as well as a reward, the death of Levi Frady remains unsolved.
Anyone with can call the GBI tip line at 1-800-597-8477 or the GBI office at (706) 348-4686.