Did a mysterious hitchhiker murder a med student in the Canadian wilderness?

Philip Innes Fraser

Philip Innes Fraser

Police sketch of the hitchhiker, a caucasian man with medium length hair

Composite #1 of hitchhiker


On June 14th, 1988, 25-year-old Philip Fraser, the son of two physicians, left his home in Anchorage, Alaska, to enroll in a pre-med course at Evergreen College in Washington State.  Philip had packed everything he owned for the trip, including two handguns.  On June 17th, after losing two days to car trouble, Philip crossed the border into Canada.  Craig Gates was a corporal with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at the time of Philip’s crossing:

“Philip did declare that he had two firearms of his own.  And at that point, our Canada customs people seized the firearms from him as it is illegal for Americans to enter Canada with any kind of a firearm.”

Police sketch of the hitchhiker, a caucasian man with a bowl haircut

Composite #2 of hitchhiker

After a one-day delay, Philip Fraser was again, on his way.  His guns became the property of the Canadian government.  The next day, six hundred miles south of the border checkpoint, a hitchhiker was dropped off at a local café south of the border.  Café owner Gaye Frocklage was working when the hitchhiker stopped in:

“The individual that dropped him off didn’t come in to the café, just dropped him off and left… there was something wrong with him, in appearance, wasn’t comfortable.

Gaye’s daughter, Tina, was also working at the cafe:

“I remember saying to Mom, you know maybe he escaped from a mental institution because he was so strange.”

Nobody was in the café at the time, and Gaye worried for her daughter’s safety:

“I wouldn’t leave her alone in the building with him as there was nobody else there at the time. I said to Tina, well you go ahead and take care of him and I’ll just hang around.  As I passed the side window, I saw a small black car pull up to the side of the café.  And the young man in the car… was searching his car like he had misplaced something that he needed.”

Police sketch of the hitchiker, a caucasian man with short hair

Composite #3 of hitchhiker

The vehicle was Philip Fraser’s.  Meanwhile, inside the café Gaye was relieved when the hitchhiker finally finished his meal.  He paid for his bill in Canadian money.  Gale then watched as the hitchhiker approached Philip’s car:

“The car sat for a few minutes and then he pulled ahead like he had second thoughts.  The hitchhiker just ran beside him and pulled the door open and the young man in the car proceeded to let him enter.”

According to Gaye, it was then that Philip drove off with the hitchhiker in his car:

“The strange thing was that, as they left the yard, Tina made some remark about he’s going to live to regret the day he picked this man up.  It was like a sixth sense that this man was capable of anything.”

A hitchhiker talking to Philip through the open passenger side window

The mysterious hitchhiker wants a ride

Eight hours later and 200 miles south of the Café, Eddie and Pauline Olson, of Kitwanga, Canada, pulled over to help a stranded motorist.  Eddie Olson remembered how nervous the man was:

“I thought that he was just scared of being out there late at night, and at that point I just said well I’ll tow you home and we’ll figure it out in the morning.”

Eddie Olson offered to let him sleep in their basement for the night.  The next morning, the young man told Edie that his parents were both doctors in Anchorage and that he was on his way to college in the States, to study medicine:

“I got to talking to him about his car and he told me that if I was interested, he would sell it to me.  But I said the only way I would buy it is if he waited until Monday and we went through customs.  And he said that would be too late for him.”

The Olsons were surprised when the young man pulled out two wallets and began to behave secretively.  He gave the Olsons twenty dollars in American money, then left to fix his car.  Within an hour, the young man was back on the road, headed south.  The car trouble had turned out to be nothing more than a broken fan belt.

Then, just twelve hours later, the charred ruins of Philip Fraser’s car were found at a car wash in Prince George, British Columbia, 300 miles from the Olson’s home.  According to Corporal Gates, the car was completely gutted prior to being set on fire:

“Nothing was found in the car of any significance.  In fact none of Philip Fraser’s belongings have ever been found.  The parents were contacted in Alaska and there was a great deal of investigation done at that point, as Philip was considered a missing person and potentially a homicide victim.”

Philip’s father, Dr. Robert Fraser, was not very hopeful after hearing the news:

“I was sure that there had been foul play.  But I kept hoping, thinking of all sorts of alternatives like maybe he decided he wanted to ditch his car and be on his own … intellectually I knew that was wrong because he really loved his car.”

Six weeks later, Dr. Fraser was informed that his son’s body had been found seventy miles from the Olson’s home:

“I felt angry and bitter. I wondered what kind of a person would destroy someone who was so idealistic and so full of life.”

What really happened along that lovely stretch of Canadian highway?  The Royal Canadian Mounted Police believed that the mysterious hitchhiker learned everything he could about Philip and then killed him.  Corporal Gates believed the hitchhiker assumed Philip’s identity, stole his possessions, and finally, attempted to destroy the car:

“In my mind, he most definitely is a dangerous person.  He’s taken one life.  He has the capability of taking more… and I would consider him very dangerous.”

The authorities believe that the hitchhiker is familiar with Toronto and Seattle and may be using Philip’s name—Philip Innes Fraser.  Among the items never recovered were Philip’s birth certificate, visa, passport, and checkbook.

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season four with Robert Stack and in season two with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.




  1. Jon

    Nevermind , I saw he was shot ..I watched the episode and don’t remember them saying he was shot but I read about it and says he was shot with a pistol so disregard the prior comment .


  2. Jon

    They never did say what his cause of death was. Did he die from blunt force trauma, strangulation,gunshot etc? Also I wonder if they ever got any hair or fiber samples for a DNA comparison someday . I bet if they did , they will someday find the killer .


  3. Becca

    Has anyone drove near where the 40 mile flat Cafe was? I know it’s not there now. But just for curiousity.


  4. DoeYouKnowMe

    Was going through the namus missing people data bank and to me this guy seems like he could be a suspect. These websites state that his teeth were in poor condition. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He was supposed to be traveling back to British columbia Canada when he went missing in 1982 it says he lived a transient life style and one of his brothers friend possibly saw him in Canada after he was reported missing, but didn’t approach him.

    Timothy Wayne coulson




    Comparison photo of Timothy and the sketch

    Whoever the person may be I wonder what they said to Phillip that made him change his mind.


  5. Jarvisjones

    And one last thing I would love to add regarding this case,is that when they found Blair Adams dead in Knoxville Tennessee. They have recovered gold bars Platinum, and Canadian and US currency in his possession,along with car keys that didn’t fit the car he rented,so my guess considering that they found Philip Fraser car,but they never found the keys to his car. I wonder if the keys that was found in Blair Adams possession could have belonged to Philip Fraser,I do believe law enforcement needs to find out where those keys belong too.


    • Mitch Irvin Lomax

      Interesting theory but why would he still have the keys? Fraser was murdered 8 years prior.


    • Anthony

      It’s been 35 years since Phillip Fraser was murdered, this is now 2023. Do you think his case will ever be solved? That was very sad that he was killed.


      • Chris D

        It has more or less been assumed that Michael Wayne McGray did it. It is a shame that more effort has not been spent to verify it 100% – but law enforcement and many attached to the case have long assumed it since he was captured and the timeline of the events of his killing spree, the location of said murders, the timeline which he was active, and the profile of “who” he targeted was made known. Added Michael Wayne McGray being the near exact age and spitting image of the killers description doiesn’t help matter either.

        I guess, in Canada they are more lax about cold cases than we are here. Probably just assumed they already have the guy locked away for other similar crimes, so no need to dig further. In my own opinion, looking in to this a bit. I feel pretty certain that INDEED Michael Wayne McGray was probably the killer. There was just WAY, way, way too much evidence in this situation and far too many coincidences. Still. It would be nice if they could get DNA evidence (if possible), a specific confession (other than his claims of “killing 11 others”), or perhaps place the man in contact with some of the witnesses (of the Philip Fraser case) for official verification. Assuming they can still remember any details all this time later.

        But again: in Canada, cold cases are buried in the snow and forgotten… like everything else there. A lot of people go missing up there, and they are not incentivized (from what I hear) too drudge up old case files from so long ago… especially when they already assume the killer is in custody and behind bars for life. I personally would just love to know why he did it – but then again, serial killer rarely know why they do things. They may talk a big game, but most of them are just mentally ill and driven by impulses they have little understanding of.


  6. Jarvisjones

    I really believe America really hates the truth,or just plain naive just to say the least. And I express that so many times and it’s not forwarding progress to even comprehend that really to some individuals who just plain can’t stand to look thru the looking glass,and see things that’s been in our sight the whole time,and one of these is this case. The murder of pre med student Philip Fraser and regarding who the mysterious hitchhiker was who took his life June of 1988 in the Canada country. As of now if you been studying not only this case,but every case that’s been broadcast on unsolved mysteries dating back to the 80’s and thru the whole 90’s decade,who in turn has lived thru those generations should known the true elements behind most of these cases now,and by what I came across for decades involving this case,and the case of the mysterious death of Blair Adams in 1996. I have came to a dramatic conclusion that Blair Adams was that mysterious hitchhiker who murdered Philip innes Fraser in British Columbia Canada in June of 1988. It’s to much coincidences regarding Blair Adams in relation to the Philip Fraser case, for it without a reasonable doubt to be a coincidence at all but a dark reality to say the least. As some speculations can’t be mixed with facts,but regarding this information here facts eliminates all speculations regarding weather or not my conclusion regarding weather or not Blair Adams was that mysterious hitchhiker who murdered Philip Fraser back in 1988 is true or false I only says that the truth always been right there,and I believe without a doubt Blair Adams was that mysterious hitchhiker who murdered this prominent young man in the late 80’s as some photos of him matches the police drawing of the mysterious hitchhiker in 1988 in the Philip Fraser case,plus he matches the mysterious hitchhiker height and weight according to the witnesses mother and daughter who got the first glance look at the unknown man who entered and ate in they diner, which they place the mysterious hitchhiker age between 20 -25 years old. Well according to google the year of birth for Blair Adams is 1964. And if u calculate that year to 1988 then u would know that places Blair Adams age at 24. Which to me almost 100% match of to the age of the mysterious hitchhiker who murdered Philip Fraser,and how I believe solely that Blair Adams was that mysterious hitchhiker for the simple fact that he was from and has lived in the same British Columbia Canada where Philip Fraser entered after he crossed the Canadian border doing that time,but from my calculation Blair Adams was back and forth from British Columbia Canada to the us. Philip Fraser car was found not far from where Blair Adams lived which he lived in Surrey British Columbia Canada,and Philip Fraser car was found at a auto body burned up like 329 miles somewhere in British Columbia Canada not far from where Blair Adams lived. Plus law enforcement investigating this case has stated that the mysterious hitchhiker who killed Philip Fraser was familiar with the Toronto and Seattle Washington area in the us,now this what really makes me believe that Blair Adams was that mysterious hitchhiker who killed Philip Fraser is for the fact as law enforcement stated that the suspect was familiar with the Toronto and Seattle Washington area,eight years after the Philip Fraser murder Blair Adams suddenly left British Columbia Canada and boarded a plane, and the first place he landed that would prove he was Philip Fraser killer in 1988 and how police said Fraser killer was familiar with the Seattle Washington area,as Blair Adams landed in Seattle Washington as soon as he landed in the us. This to me is starting regarding the Philip Fraser case,and Blair Adams last days alive eight years after Philip Fraser murder is truly remarkable and suspicious,as he was very high paranoid as he knew he have done something terribly bad like he was hiding something and I believe it was something he did in his past that cause him to leave well my opinion fled British Columbia To the us. My beliefs he done something terrible to cause him to fled British Columbia and that is kill Philip Fraser eight years prior to his death,and he knew it was a matter of time before law enforcement closed in on him for that, since high profile crime shows broadcast the Philip Fraser case,and he was killed from other type criminal elements he was involved in but this time he stepped on the wrong toes,and ended up dead his damnself in 1996 in Tennessee,but I do believe he was the mysterious hitchhiker who killed Philip Fraser in 1988.


    • Melaus

      I believe you’re right. The resemblance is too damn similar. You could have been a detective.


    • Jonathan

      I highly doubt he was mystery hitch hiker.BC,is a large area and there’s no telling where this hitch hiker hailed from. He might’ve been american and needed passport to get back to the states. Either way, i don’t believe they were one in the same person.


    • Rob

      Kitwanga, BC is over 14 hours away from Surrey, BC where Blair is from. Highly unlikely that Blair was the mysterious hitchhiker.


  7. Gregg

    I believe Fraser’s body was found on the road between Meziadin and Stewart, BC.
    Perhaps Philip turned right and was trying to reach Stewart raher than continuing
    south to Kitwanga.


  8. Stephanie sanchez

    People! He did not let him in! If he was freaked out by the hitch hiker and trying to drive off. Hello! The hitch hiker was obviously pulling a gun on him low so no one could see it! He was forced by a gun to give that guy a ride. I get upset every time I think the owner of the restaurant watched this happened and never had wisdom to understand the evil that was going on in front of her face. It makes me upset that he was being abused fighting for his life and she says ” he’s going to live to regret giving that man a ride.” Talk about how evil! If I would have been there I am wise enough to call the cops and tell them a hitch hiker was pointing a gun at someone for a ride and tell the police in which direction the car drove off in. Bad things happen when no one who cares is around to stop them.


    • dazy

      But… Phil was smart and not naive, but he was trusting, and caring. I could envision him figuring he’d give the guy a ride down the road or whatever and be done with it. I don’t think he was stupid or oblivious, but I don’t think his first thought about some stranger is that they are a murderer or something. I think of Phil as the kind of guy that would go to Woodstock and share his food and tent and be casual friends in passing. Source: I knew Phil. So, I think he may have casually given someone the benefit of the doubt and “trusted” them, when he shouldn’t have. This is just my gut feeling.


    • Karine

      As far as we know, she didn’t see a gun. Guns aren’t as common in Canada as they are in the USA. Citizen don’t have the right to bear arm. It’s really not part of the culture to think that someone has a gun. Also, the restaurant-gas station is hundred of miles from everything. It’s not like she would call and a Policeman would arrive in 20 min. We are talking hours.


  9. Charles Herring

    Sorry but if it’s supposed to be all if these folks that we’ve got witnessed the guy w the young man that should be able to pick him out of a line up ok atleast 4 folks the Olsen family and the waitress and her mother is all that I’m going to say is can’t you just give them a line up of pictures to look through its only common sense but apparently the Canadian government doesn’t care about American s in their country and not one person mentioned whether or not he had a Canadian accent or not because that’s kind of an important factor in all of this and how was he killed because if he was shot then that explains why he picked him up in the first place because he threatened him someway because idek wtf he’d even change his mind after ole boy chased him down



    This case has always intrigued and fascinated me. Has anything ever come out of this? I can’t beleive there are no leads on this.


  11. Walk-with-Might

    I know she had FB according to this website. But I only found Gaye Pauline Frocklage? I did send messages to her but she didn’t reply


  12. Lisbeth C.

    If you think you have found the killer/hitchhiking you should just ask Gaye Frocklage to identify him. I still don’t get why this case wasn’t solved. The are still too many question marks.


  13. Walk-with-Might

    Does anyone take a look at Roger Hoan Brady?

    His age, appearance(especially compared with first composite — this hitchhiker may not alter his appearance at that time. And, Jesus! Hairstyle, eyebrows, eyes, mouth, how similar!) and location are resemble as hell!


  14. Carl Sagan

    Blair was born in 1964
    I wasn’t able to reply to that specific comment.


  15. dean king

    I’m calling it now. Blair Adams was the mysterious hitchiker. Look at Blair Adams photos to this suspect composite.


  16. Ali

    Some of these guesses don’t seem to consider geography at all. Buffalo, NY, for example, is extremely far away from Yukon Territory and Northern BC.


  17. Magnus

    Philip Fraser
    Robert Elmer Kleason

    Now dead serialkiller Robert Elmer Kleason look a lot like the police scetches of the hitchhiker the witnesses saw getting into Fraser’s car. Kleason lived in Buffalo close to the Canadian border at the time of Fraser’s disappearance. At the time Kleason had just managed to get out of death row due to a technicality, and his face was all over the media. Isn’t it possible he went to Canada to avoid media attention? And with no money after quite some time in jail he should have been pretty desperate for cash, and was possibly hitchhiking.
    I’ve tried to find out where Kleason went inbetween his release and later moving to England, but with no luck.
    This was before DNA mind you. If I’m right it’s quite possible that the canadian police never looked at Kleason as a possible suspect.
    Just a thought.


    • Nicholas

      The hitchhiker was said to be in his mid-20’s or thereabouts. Robert Kleason would have been mid-50’s at the time and more than likely looked decades older than the suspect.


  18. Beccaboo

    I found the cafe owner Gaye Frocklage on Face book. She told me that the 40 mile cafe isn’t there anymore, they sold it in 1997 and the rest of the land in 1999. She said Phillip seemed a very nice guy and exactly what she said on UM is what happened. She told it as it unfolded. Philip was driving away and they exchanged a few words and so it seemed that Philip let him in. I didn’t want to keep bothering her with questions, seemed like a nice lady.


  19. anon

    It suddenly struck me that maybe the hitchhiker while jogging beside Phillip’s car before getting in threatened Phillip…not with danger to himself – he can clearly just drive off…but with the two women in the diner.

    Explains why Phillip changed his mind about picking the stranger up. A single young man may think of himself a bigger challenge to kill than 2 women, and if he’s driving…that gives him some (misguided) sense of control over the situation.


  20. Petaa motex

    This story creeps me out more than any other on Unsolved. I like road trips and traveling. Phillip was traveling to college and he was murdered so far away from home. The Canadians shouldn’t have taken the guns as Phillip was just passing through. This guy definitely looks like a creep and I would hate to run into him. Hope he is caught. He makes me scared to pick up hitchhikers.


  21. chris

    I ran across the name of Ronald Dominique on the internet, a serial killer from Louisiana who murdered and raped men. His looks similar to the composite.


    • Chris R.

      Most definitely wouldn’t have been Ronald Dominique, as he didn’t go on a murder spree until 1997 (according to several websites), 9 years after Phillip died. Plus, Phillip was traveling from Alaska to Washington state, while Ronald did his “dirt” in Louisiana.


  22. Fraser

    Has anyone ever thought to type that name on Facebook and see who comes up?





  24. Anonymous

    Has anybody else ever speculated that this case might be related to the Blair Adams case (also featured on UM)?

    I’ve always pondered this because a couple of the composites really look like some of the pictures they show of Adams. Specifically composite #2 looks almost identical to a picture they show of Adams.


  25. Anna

    I saw this story last night for the first time. This morning I saw the news from Michigan about the Uber driver named Jason Dalton, who killed several people. The sketches of the hitchhiker look very much like Jason Dalton. Has anyone else thought this?


  26. Butch

    Michael Wayne McGray. Born just north of Toronto, and implicated (by his own admission) in several hitchhiker-style killings in British Columbia and Seattle. Physically fits the profile of Fraser’s killer.


  27. Janalyn

    I really feel for Phillip Fraser — could have been me! A few years ago I picked up a young woman who was running in the street at night, as I exited a freeway offramp. She shouted something to me as I passed her. I was afraid that if I didn’t let her in my car the next motorist might hit her. Her eyes were fearful and she said someone was trying to kill her. I’m also a young woman and I felt for her. I took her to an emergency room, and she told story after story about being held against her will, raped, pursued… until I realized they didn’t make any sense and she was either on drugs or mentally ill. The intake nurses and I tried to calm her and keep her there, but she ran back out into the night. I was so concerned about her safety (and the safety of other drivers) that I notified the police. Eventually she was picked up by the police and arrested, but they couldn’t tell me what the charges were. Good thing her paranoia didn’t turn on me!


  28. joseph nodine

    I just saw this episode on tv and the three drawings of that hitchhiker LOOKS like my brother who is on America’s most wanted and still being hunted for…. I believe it is him. his name is howard james nodine the 3rd 3rd belive hitchhicker



  29. Steffy C

    A few things that I’m curious about are, how was the hitchhiker acting that was so creepy to the cafe workers? What was he doing exactly that made them so nervous and so certain he was bad news? They don’t really say. You normally just don’t look at someone who looks out of place and say “that man is dangerous”.
    I think it would help if they explained that a little more. Maybe someone would recognize him for something creepy that he does.
    What I find really disturbing is that he basically chased Frazer in his car after he clearly refused to give him a ride. I guess being kind doesn’t pay off after all.
    Frankly, if anyone ever ran alongside my car after I told them “no” then I would’ve been out of there in record time. I really wonder what he said to him to get him to stop and let him in. Was it something that made him feel bad for him or was it some type of threat? I’m leaning more towards the former simply because if he did in fact threaten him, he probably wouldn’t have stopped.
    Another thing that bothers me a lot is who was the person that dropped off the hitchhiker at the cafe? Didn’t the cafe workers see the car and able to describe it? At least the color, make and model? I really think that would have been a huge key to solving this case. Even if they weren’t able to describe the car then this driver must have heard about this case by now. Something just doesn’t add up with that. Maybe it’s possible that it was someone the hitchhiker knew? Or possibly even related to?

    I think it’s more than likely that this hitchhiker/killer is from the area where he had ditched the car. At least close to where he wanted to go. If not then he would’ve more than likely had to get a ride from another motorist and that person could have identified him eventually and told police where he had brought him.
    So it makes sense that he is or was from the British Columbia area.
    I am personally shocked that this scumbag has never been identified. Maybe the story wasn’t big enough for too many to notice.

    Its too bad that there weren’t better detectives on the case. I have no doubt that it would’ve been solved if there were.
    They actually think this guy is/was using Frazer’s name and information as his own? That’s just ridiculous.
    Unfortunately, since it has been this long, and the crime scene spans several areas, states, and even countries, I am quite certain that they will never solve this case.
    It’s just sad. Such a bright kid with a promising future.


  30. Caitie

    I think that the women who owned/worked in the cafe were right to be suspicious of the hitchhiker. I wonder what the guy said to get into Philip’s car, because it seems like Philip didn’t want to pick him up, so I wonder if the hitchhiker threatened him or something.


  31. Rebecca

    Phillip left the café with the hitchhiker, eight hours later the Olson’s picked up the hitch hiker. It seems the hitcher hiker murdered Phillip and assumes Phillip’s identity. The hitch hiker has things people just don’t leave behind (birth paper, passport, checkbook),The Olsen’s claim the hitch hiker had two wallets and began to behave secretively. The Olson’s picks up the hitch hiker and offered a tow to their home, also offered to let him sleep in their basement for the night. Hmmm. That was a devastating blow to that family. I wonder why he didn’t try to call his parents to inform them of his car troubles, maybe they could have suggested something or at least know his whereabouts and what is going on.


    • tim

      He didn’t call his parents because he was dead :-/ it quite clearly states that the hitch hiker impersonated Phillip when the Olsens stopped to help….


    • Paul Meier

      Obviously hitchhiker stole Phil’s identity to help himself. I remember this case more than any other because of the randomness of it. Been a long time but I hope some day they catch that scumbag.


    • Chris R.

      The Hitchhiker wasn’t the one with the parents, it was Phillip. I also believe that the Hitchhiker not only stole Phillip’s Identity and his possessions but might’ve killed him to do it too. Hitchhiker is/was an ugly personality. However, Phillip seemed like a nice young gentleman with a beautiful personality. Phillip reminded me of this white boy in my computer class who gave me sunglasses at the end of the semester.


  32. Jan

    The composite looks very much like my cousins who were living in Alaska at the time. Their father and half his cousins had been in jail for fraud, stealing selling drugs. If it was any part of this line of my family I can well imagine they were capable of murder. My cousins had deep set brown eyes and had like colored to dark brown hair but all had dark brown bushy eye brows except for 1. Several had the same hair cut but then sometimes would cut it in a surfer type hair cut pulled to the left side.


  33. Stacey

    What I’m wondering is they say that his body was found 70 miles from the Olson’s home. In which direction? That could help determine a lot. I’m guessing he was found between the café and the Olson’s house. If he was found past the Olson’s house his body must have been in the trunk the whole time, which seems unlikely if he was trying to sell the car to the Olson’s. Very curious case. Seems like someone would have to know something.


  34. Anonymous



  35. grahamclayton

    The interesting point is what happened to the hitchiker just prior to Fraser’s meeing with the Olsons. Did he leave Fraser, and then catch up with him the next day? If Fraser was so afraid of this person, why did he pick them up? I am assuming that it was the hitchhiker who murdered Fraser, took all of his belongings and torched his car. If not, then Fraser was murdered by another person, who was not the hitchhiker.


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