Robert Fraser was a local in Panama City Beach who was known to help out families in his area as well as to pick up hitchhikers regularly. Robert was a self-employed subcontractor who owned a Ford F-150 that was unique in appearance and had been heavily customized.
The day Robert vanished.
On August 5, 1996, Robert had been helping a friend who owned a restaurant and bar called Sassy Morgan's. As he left that night, he had promised he would give his friend a call once he got home, but never called. Based on surveillance footage that would later be collected, Robert never made it home that evening.
“To tell you the truth, I feel like something terrible has happened to him... I know he would have called me if he was able to.'' - Margaret Brown, Robert’s mother.
Three weeks later, Robert’s truck was found.
Three weeks after Robert vanished, his truck was found in the parking lot of a condominium complex in Panama City Beach, FL. The resident who had reported Robert's truck states that the truck had been in the parking lot for about two weeks.
Investigators noted that the doors to the truck were locked and that the security alarm was disabled. Inside the truck, investigators found blood, inside the truck as well as on a sheet that had come from the condos where it was parked. There was also clay and dust on the truck's tires and around the truck, leading investigators to believe that his truck had been driven on a dirt road recently.
“He washed it at least every other day, he never got on a dirt road with it. It was his pride and joy.'' - Margaret Brown, Robert’s mother.
Four months later, Robert’s remains were found.
On December 4, 1996, Robert’s remains were found by a hunter at an illegal dump site in Pine Long State Forest near highway 79 in Ebro, FL. His body had been mummified and buried under about 18 inches of dirt. It was determined that he had died from a gunshot wound. Insect activity on his body suggests that he would have been dead for at least 24 hours prior to being buried.
Where the case stands today.
Robert’s case quickly went and remains cold, seemingly with no possible leads. There has never been any suspects or persons of interest named in his death, and there has been no update from law enforcement in several years. If you have any information, please contact Panhandle Crime Stoppers at (850) 785-TIPS (8477).