Identity Thawed: The ‘Lady in the Fridge’ Jane Doe Finally Named After Years of Mystery

Amanda Schumann Deza was reported missing in 1994 and thought to have been a victim of serial killer, Terry Rasmussen

Megan Ashley

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Amanda Lynn Schumann Deza (Source)

For twenty-seven years, a woman, known only as ‘The Lady in the Fridge,’ has laid unidentified. In March 1995, a scavenger searching for bottles and cans found a submerged refrigerator in the Whiskey Slough canal near Bacon Island Road in Holt, California. Curious, he waded over to the fridge and opened it up to inspect its contents. The fridge door had been tied shut, and when he opened it, he made a disturbing discovery. Inside the fridge was the body of a young woman. Her hands had been bound with tape, and a sock was stuffed inside her mouth.

The authorities were immediately called, but none of the attending officers could have prepared themselves for what they were about to see. The medical examiner determined that the woman had been submerged for around six months, and the fridge’s internal temperature had been quite warm, which led to accelerated decomposition.

They estimated the time of her death to be somewhere in October 1994. In their report, the medical examiner noted the woman was white with strawberry blonde hair, 110 to 130 lbs, and between the ages of twenty-nine and forty-one.

Her cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma, and investigators were keen to uncover her identity, but that would be easier said than done. Jane Doe became known as ‘The Lady in the Fridge,’ and missing person reports from across the county and beyond were cross-referenced with her details, but no one matched. Investigators continued looking into her case, but it became colder and colder as the years went by.

Each year, investigators would glance over the case files, hoping something stood out, but it didn’t. Her details were entered into NamUs, but still, no leads came up. Then, in 2022, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office contacted Othram, asking for their assistance. The skeletal remains of ‘The Lady in the Fridge’ were handed over to Othram, who was able to extract a DNA profile.

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