Friday Is 50th Anniversary Of Quadruple Murder At Gitchie Manitou

Lyon County, Iowa — Today marks a somber anniversary. It was 50 years ago today, on November 17, 1973 when the murders at Gitchie Manitou State Preserve took place.

Two books have been written about the crime, called Gitchie Girl and Gitchie Girl Uncovered. Both books are authored by Phil and Sandy Hamman.

The books tell the story of then 13-year-old Sandra (Cheskey) Chrans, who on November 17, 1973, went with her teenage boyfriend and three of his guy friends from Sioux Falls to hang out, talk, sing, and just enjoy each other’s company, at Gitchie Manitou State Preserve in far northwest Lyon County. Within hours her boyfriend and the other three boys were dead, and the young girl had been sexually assaulted. Amazingly, however, one of the killers drove her to her home and let her go.

But her story was unknown to all but a few until the first book came out in 2016. Phil Hamman says he was actually approached by Cheskey when she wanted to get her story out.

Hamman says what makes the story so scary is that it’s the story of five normal teenagers doing what normal teenagers did in that time and place.

While three men eventually went to prison for the crimes, a clear motive has never been released, says Hamman.

The men were brothers Allen Fryer, who was 29 years old at the time; James Fryer, who was 21; and David Fryer, who was 24. Cheskey says the brothers approached her group, posing as narcotics officers, and saying they were going to confiscate the group’s marijuana. Cheskey says they then opened fire, killing 18-year old Stewart Baade and his 15-year old brother Dana, 17-year old Roger Essem, and 16-year old Michael Hadrath. Saying Cheskey was “too young to get busted,” Allen Fryer eventually drove her home after his brother James raped her, says Cheskey.

According to the Iowa Department of Corrections, all three brothers are still serving life sentences. Allen Fryer is 79, David Fryer is 74, and James Fryer is 71. All three are incarcerated at the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility.