Mother hopes to find baby after disappearance

ANN ARBOR — Even after 35 years, with the odds overwhelmingly stacked against her, Denise Frazier-Daniel still believes she’ll find her daughter.

All she has left of Olisa Williams, last seen as an infant in 1982, are a few photos kept among documents and newspaper clippings related to the disappearance, and her belief that police are wrong — that her child is still alive.

The primary person of interest in the child’s disappearance, Frazier-Daniel’s ex-husband, claims a car crash left him with no memory from the timeframe of his connection with the girl.

His changing stories and claims of amnesia have thwarted authorities for decades in their ongoing efforts to find out what happened to the child, according to investigators and a far-flung array of police reports, court records and family services documents.

But Ann Arbor police also still hold out hope for justice in the child’s disappearance, and are asking anyone with information to come forward.

“I still have hope that she can be found,” Frazier-Daniel told The Ann Arbor News . “I can’t give up.”

Olisa Williams was born on Aug. 10, 1981 amid a tumultuous relationship between Frazier-Daniel and her ex-husband, Isiah Williams.

Frazier-Daniel, now 63, met Isiah Williams, about 10 years her senior, when he lived next door to her family home in Ann Arbor. She fell in love, and in January 1979, they drove to Toledo, Ohio, to get a quick marriage.

But all was not well with the newlyweds.

“I was in love,” Frazier-Daniel said. “He claims that he loved me. In the beginning, he was attentive and loving. I just couldn’t believe it.”

Two years into the relationship, while still dating, the abuse began with a slap, said Frazier-Daniel.

It escalated and continued into marriage, according to police. Less than one month in, Williams was accused of shooting at and beating his new bride with a rifle, said Ann Arbor police Detective Dan Iverson, who has taken over the investigation into Olisa Williams’ disappearance.

Isiah Williams, now 70, declined to speak at length when located in September at a home in Inkster by The Ann Arbor News. He briefly addressed allegations regarding Olisa before he closed his door without answering questions on his history of spousal abuse.

But police reports show a cycle of abuse that frequently left Frazier-Daniel battered and seeking shelter, Iverson said.

“Off and on, after I’d get on my feet and I’m doing good by myself, and then he comes along and woos me back in,” Frazier-Daniel said. “He’s very good at sweet talking. … I guess love can be blind.”

Within months of their marriage, the two were separated, and Frazier-Daniel was seeking divorce, according to a police report.