Stacey Lynn Balas
Missing since November 26, 1996 from Fairview Park, Cuyahoga County, Ohio
Classification: Endangered Missing
Circumstances of Disappearance
Balas was last seen at 01:00 AM at Subway Shop on West 220th & Lorain Road, in Fairview Park, Ohio on November 26, 1996.
Stacey was involved in a serious automobile accident while a passenger in a Pontiac Fiero, in June of 1988. A friend was backing out of a driveway and accidentally backed into a moving semi-trailer truck. Stacey was knocked unconscious at the scene and was taken to a local hospital. Once stabilized she was airlifted by Life Flight to Cleveland Metro Hospital.
Her family was told that Stacey may not live through the night. She was in a coma for four weeks in intensive care, spending six weeks total in the hospital. Stacey had suffered severe physical injuries including frontal lobe damage.
When she awoke, Stacey was like an infant, and had to be retrained in every aspect of her life. Her family spent many hours working with her at home, assisting with detailed therapy, as well as time at the hospital.
In time, Stacey was able to go back to work though she struggled with the realization of how she was prior to the accident versus her present state.
Stacey's fiance' was working at a Subway Sandwich Shop and encouraged her to seek a position at another Subway Sandwich Shop nearby. She completed her training and then was transferred to the Fairview Subway Sandwich Shop in Fairview Park, Ohio. She had only worked there a few weeks until the night of November 25, 1996. Stacey was apprehensive about closing on the night shift because the Fairview Subway Shop had been broken into just a few weeks prior at a rear entrance during her shift and money had been taken.
On that night, Stacey's left work at 00:55 am, and told her supervisor that she was going home because she must return to work at 11.00 a.m. the same day. The next morning, Stacey's supervisor called her home because she did not come to work.
About 16:00 that afternoon, Fairview Park Police Department finds her Nissan Pathfinder in the parking lot of the Cleveland Motel, four blocks from her work. It was locked and the windows were rolled up. They checked throughout the motel and did not find a trace that Stacey had ever been inside. Stacey's purse was found inside the vehicle and nothing appeared to be missing. An extra set of keys and her bank book were in the glove box.
A credit card statement from British Petroleum indicated that Stacey's credit card was used three times since she was reported missing: On November 26, 1996, in Brooklyn, Ohio on Brookpark Road, on November 28 on Carnegie Avenue also in Brooklyn, Ohio, and on November 29, 1996 someone purchased gas on Fleet Avenue in Cleveland. The statement revealed the following three amounts: $10.01, $7.40, and $16.36.
In November 2005, Balas's manager at Subway, Larry Wade, confessed to her murder. He had been the prime suspect in her case from the beginning, and was convicted of raping another Ohio woman three months after Balas vanished. He was charged with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and kidnapping in connection with Balas's disappearance. He stated he had strangled her and dumped her body in a trash bin.
Larry Wade was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison in May 2006.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
North Ridgeville Police Department
Sgt. Kenneth L. Beaver
Center to Help Locate Stacey Balas Online
The Fallen Wall