(Editor’s note: This story posted on ajc.com on Oct. 22, 2017 — the 20th anniversary of Levi Frady’s disappearance. The 11-year-old was found dead on Oct. 23, 1997. Although Levi’s death prompted Georgia’s statewide “Levi’s Call” child abduction alert, his killer has never been found. The GBI continues to actively investigate the boy’s death, according to the special agent in charge of the case.)
Someone knows what happened to her son. But nearly 20 years after her 11-year-old son was killed, Marilyn Weaver continues to wait for answers.
“There’s still nothing after all this time,” Weaver told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’ve heard so many rumors. I know that somebody knows. It has to have been more than one person that knows. To me, it’s just mind-boggling.”
Levi Frady’s death prompted a statewide alert system for child abductions. Levi’s Call is Georgia’s version of the Amber Alert, named for a 9-year-old Texas girl abducted and killed in 1996. The children’s deaths — separated by 21 months and 850 miles — inspired change with hopes of preventing similar tragedies.
Two decades later, those responsible for killing Amber Hagerman and Levi Frady have not been caught.
On Oct. 22, 1997, Levi Frady pedaled his red bicycle toward his north Forsyth County home. He never made it.
Weaver thought her boy had stayed too long at a friend’s house, and she and Levi’s twin sister, Laci, set out to find him. About a mile from their house, the two spotted Levi’s bike in a ditch. Perhaps the boy had left it there and gotten a ride, investigators later speculated.
The following morning when Levi hadn’t returned home, Weaver called police. Hours later, hunters found Levi’s body in the Dawson Wildlife Management Area in neighboring Dawson County, about 20 miles from his home. Her son had been shot three times, twice in the chest and once in the head, Weaver later told reporters.
The investigation into Levi’s death involved sheriff’s offices in both Forsyth and Dawson counties, along with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. But despite hundreds of interviews and tips, plus a $100,000 reward, the boy’s death remains unsolved.
“We still develop leads and follow those leads,” said Kim Williams, GBI special agent in charge in northeast Georgia.
But there have still been no major breaks in the case, Williams said.
“We certainly would love to have it solved,” she said.
Levi’s family would, too. Weaver said there isn’t a day that passes when her sandy-brown haired boy isn’t on her mind. Her boy was happier outdoors than inside, and though he wasn’t a great student, Levi was kind-hearted with an ear for music. Before his death, he’d learned to play “Ode to Joy” on the piano.
“I can’t say that it gets any easier,” she said. “I don’t think there will ever be closure because he was stolen from us. It’s something a mother never gets over.”
Weaver still lives in the same home she shared with her twins when Levi was killed. The three moved in around Christmas the previous year. Weaver likes to focus on the happy memories shared in the home while Levi was alive, but every passing anniversary or birthday is a reminder of what she lost.
Her daughter now has a son of her own, Weaver said. Her grandson is 12, and his dark hair matches Laci’s.
“He’s the most special thing,” Weaver said. “It was exactly what we needed.”
Her grandson’s middle name is Levi for the uncle he didn’t have the chance to meet. But there is only one Levi. And his family is hopeful that one day, they’ll have answers.
“I know I’ll see him again. I just know,” Weaver said. “I believe in God and I believe he’s with God and he’s at peace now. I know we will all be together again, and Laci believes it, too.”
Anyone with information on the murder of Levi Frady should call the GBI Tip Line at 1-800-597-8477.
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