Trail goes cold in Niles homicide case
Former county clerk employee was killed in home five years ago
NILES — More than five years after the fact, Niles police detectives still are investigating the brutal murder of a woman who had been a public servant and a great cook.
Arlene Frasca, 74, a longtime Trumbull County Clerk of Courts employee, was killed Oct. 6, 2016, when assailants entered her Hiram Avenue ranch home looking for something, detectives believe.
Husband Angelo Frasca placed a 911 call shortly before 11 p.m. saying two armed men held guns to their heads and “did something to his wife.” The man asked dispatchers to get help in a hurry because his wife was on the floor.
First responders pronounced Arlene Frasca dead. Her husband was taken to a nearby hospital, treated for his injuries and released the next day.
Detective Craig Aurillio said last week the Frasca home invasion and murder case still is an open investigation, but he declined to comment on its progress.
At the time of the homicide, Niles detectives and members of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation crime lab found no visible signs of forced entry to the Frasca home, saying the front door may have been unlocked. Investigators said previously they thought the assailants were looking for a safe inside the home.
Detectives had said there were some suspects in the case and interviews were conducted, but no arrests were made.
The family had offered a $10,000 reward to anyone with information leading to arrests and convictions of Frasca’s killers. At the time, police had released a fuzzy photo of a white car carrying the suspected killers.
Several calls were made to Frasca’s son, Dr. Michael Frasca, who has a practice in the Little Italy neighborhood of Cleveland, but he did not respond about whether the reward still is available.
Then-county coroner, the late Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk, added to the mystery of the cold case by saying the death was a homicide. But Germaniuk also added: “Only me and the killers know (the cause of death) … So I am going to hold off.”
Germaniuk never announced the cause of Arlene Frasca’s death as he died the following April.
Police still believe the Frasca home was targeted for a specific reason. Investigators have used information from Germaniuk’s autopsy of Frasca to try to solve the case.
Frasca’s obituary noted she had a “magnetic personality” and loved to serve the public as well as guests in her home.
She had been employed for 29 years at the Trumbull County Clerk of Courts and title office, and she also was a real estate agent. She retired from the county in 2002 but continued to serve the public as a poll worker for the board of elections. She belonged to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and was a former member of the Warren Junior Women’s League, as well as the Art Outreach Gallery at Eastwood Mall.
The account also noted Frasca had the ability to put a meal together for a bunch of people within 20 minutes.
Mary Vassis, chief deputy clerk of courts who worked with Frasca, remembers the woman bringing in food to share with her office colleagues.
“She was a very nice lady and a great cook,” Vassis said.