Vol. 15 Issue No. 2 | January 14 – 20, 2009

Murderer took his motive to the grave

By Linda Bentley | January 14, 2009

‘He always said he’d take his own life before he’d ever go to prison’

CAVE CREEK – Jamie Seely, 48, has been left stranded by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office without her belongings, purse, money or ID since Tuesday, Jan. 6, as she tries to sort out why James Fraser, 53, someone she’s known for more than 20 years, shot and killed her best friend Mary Raver, 40, whom he’d never met before, and then committed suicide.

Raver, originally from Oley Township, Pa., moved to Montana about ten years ago where she worked as a hunting outfitter in Plains, which is about 18 miles from Hot Springs, where Seely relocated when she left Arizona.

Raver and Seely had taken a road trip to Las Vegas and planned to stop in Cave Creek, where Seely has friends and where her children recently moved in with her ex-husband so they could attend school here.

They arrived late Monday night at Fraser’s home at 6036 E. Lowden, in the county island area just south of Lone Mountain Road where Fraser, a friend she’s remained in contact with over the past 20 years, told them they could stay in the motor home parked alongside his house.

Seely said she and Raver wanted to go into town to have some fun and invited Fraser to go along but he declined.

The two hung out at the Hideaway until closing time and then returned to Fraser’s house.
Seely said Raver went over to the Jeep, which belonged to Raver’s fiancé in Montana, and was going to get some of her belongings. Seely watched from across the two-and-a-half acre parcel as Raver got into the driver’s side of the vehicle and said she wondered if Raver was going to pop open the back and if all their stuff was going to fall out.

However, Seely then saw James come out of the house wearing black pajamas and slowly walk over to the Jeep. Seely said she watched him open the passenger door and thought to herself, oh good he’s going to help us carry our stuff.

With the dome light on in the Jeep, Seely said she saw James put his arm around Raver and thought he was giving Raver a hug until she heard a loud bang.

In a state of shock, Seely said she stood there frozen and watched as Fraser walked just as slowly as he came out back into the house.

Seely said she ran over to the Jeep and saw Raver’s chin resting on her chest, where there was a lot of blood. She then felt Raver’s wrist to see if there was a pulse but found none.

It’s not clear if she called 911 from her cell phone or from a neighbor’s house. Horrified, she said she ran into a nearby wash, not knowing what to think about what she had just witnessed.

Seely said she just watched a good friend of hers murder her best friend and had no idea why, since they didn’t know each other.

She also wondered if he thought she would probably follow him into the house where he would kill her too.

She said, “He always said he’d take his own life before he’d ever go to prison,” although she said he’s never been.

According to Seely, back when Fraser was in college and was probably in his 20s, his father killed his girlfriend or wife, the man she was suspected of having an affair with, and then himself.

When deputies arrived on the scene, Seely said she was placed in a squad car, as they tried to sort out what happened.

She watched as they removed Raver from the Jeep and carried her across the yard and laid her back down. Seely said she thought it was odd to move the body without taking any pictures while Raver was still in the Jeep.

Then they sent the robot into the house, where they discovered Fraser was dead from a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Seely said she had her purse with her during the whole ordeal including the time she was in the squad car.

However, she said deputies confiscated her purse when they dropped her off in town, where she told them she had friends.

She said the deputies told her she would have her things back within a day or two.
Meanwhile, Seely was dropped off in Cave Creek with nothing besides the clothes she was wearing.

Having been previously acquainted with Seely, Gary and Jeri Rust, who own the Tumbleweed Hotel, gave Seely a complimentary room.

And, since Seely was left with no money, the Rusts took her out to eat the next day.

Wondering what was going on, Seely contacted MCSO regularly, and while they assured her she wasn’t a suspect, she said they continued to put her off for “another day or two.”

She realized she couldn’t even have anyone wire her money because she had no ID to pick it up since MCSO still had her purse.

“I feel like a victim,” said Seely, who still had not had her purse returned by Monday evening, a week later.

When Sonoran News contacted the Media Relations Unit on Saturday morning to get an update on the incident and names of the parties involved, Detective Aaron Douglas responded, “I don’t have updates on the weekend. Check back on Monday when all investigators are at the office.”

As of Monday evening, Raver’s fiancé was hoping to arrange to fly out to Arizona to pick up his Jeep and drive back with Seely. MCSO still had not released it.

However, Raver’s body had already been flown back to Montana, on Monday.

Seely, who was still stranded without money, ID or credit cards for a week, was saddened that she couldn’t leave to attend her best friend’s funeral.

On Tuesday, when I checked back with MCSO, I was told, “We still don’t have further info on this case. As soon as I get it I’ll pass it on to you.”