Authorities say they have finally identified a California woman found in a refrigerator 27 years ago with the help of DNA technology.
Detectives with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office announced in a press conference that they have identified a woman whose body was discovered in 1995 as Amanda Lynn Schumann Deza, who is believed to have been 29 years old at the time of her disappearance.
Sheriff Patrick Withrow said the woman had long been known as “the Lady in the Fridge.”
The sheriff’s department identified Deza by partnering with Othram, described as “a company that specializes in genetic genealogy.”
Deza was found when “scavengers” who were looking for “cans and bottles” at the Whiskey Slough Marina in Holt, California, discovered the woman’s body in a refrigerator submerged in water, according to the sheriff’s office.
Law and Crime reported Deza was not carrying identification when she was found and that no missing person’s report had been filed, although investigators believe she had been murdered six months prior in 1994.
An autopsy revealed Deza had suffered blunt force trauma, per the sheriff’s office.
Asked why no one had reported her missing, Lieutenant Linda Jimenez said Deza had been “involved in challenging times” at the time of her death but did not elaborate on what these challenges might have been.
Jimenez also said people who knew Deza had noticed she was missing.
“They were looking for her. They were concerned for her welfare. They just didn’t get very far,” she said.
Withrow explained that Deza’s family was not aware of her circumstances when she died.
“She was a 30-year-old woman and out on her own,” he explained.
Othram, the DNA analysis company that helped identify Deza, indicated a few things that are known about her circumstances at the time of her disappearance:
We know that Amanda was separated from her husband and had three young children at the time of her disappearance. Speaking with the family, she was last seen at an unknown apartment complex in the city of Napa with an unidentified male she met in a rehabilitation facility.
Jimenez noted that Deza had lived in the Napa, Oakley, and Delta areas of California but said investigators are “missing several pieces to the years prior to her disappearance and her death” and have asked members of the public to come forward with any information that might help them find Deza’s killer.
Stockman Crime Stoppers has offered a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest, according to the sheriff’s office.
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