Route 981 motorist still best hope of learning what happened in 1988 fatality in Loyalhanna

November 26, 2018

It’s been 30 years, but time has not erased the thoughts that sometimes creep into Karen Letso’s head.

Who could have hit and killed 45-year-old Willie Frain and left him to die on a dark Loyalhanna road?

“We’ve come to accept the fact that I think it’s never going to be solved,” the Indiana woman said.

State police want to find answers for Frain’s family, but they need help from anyone who knows the circumstances surrounding his death along Route 981 on July 29, 1988. Trooper James Daggett has been working on the case since 2015.

“There’s nothing on this, this is as cold as it gets,” he said.

But he remains interested in talking to a woman who may have been involved in Frain’s death. Troopers issued appeals at the time for a female motorist who reported running over something on the road that authorities believe was Frain, who lived in Graceton.

“That’s the only thing remotely near a person of interest if you will,” Daggett said.

Frain was hit by a car and killed at 10:25 p.m. near Cemetery Road and what was then a bar. He was found lying on Route 981, according to newspaper accounts.

The female motorist was driving a light-colored 1970s model General Motors car, possibly a Chevrolet Monte Carlo or Pontiac Grand Prix, police said at the time. She was in her 30s or 40s with light-colored hair and a thin to medium build. Police said she was wearing white uniform-type clothing, which led them to believe she may have been employed as a nurse, waitress or in a similar occupation. They even released a composite sketch of the woman and offered a reward.

Letso, who was separated from Frain at the time, recalled feeling shocked. His death was hard on their then-16-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son.

It’s unfair that whoever was behind the wheel has gotten to live their life while they have grappled over the years with their loss, she said.

“Their families got to see them, but my kids’ dad never got to see them graduate or see the first grandson,” Letso said.

She hopes the female motorist, or someone else who knows what happened, calls state police.

“Just admit it. Just come forward and say you did it,” she said, adding that it could’ve been an accident. “You should’ve stopped.”

Anyone with information is asked to call state police at 724-697-5780. Callers can remain anonymous.

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