SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY, Calif. (TCD) — New DNA technology helped positively identify a 30-year-old woman who was found bound and dead in a refrigerator in 1995.
On Thursday, Feb. 23, San Joaquin County Sheriff Patrick Withrow and other law enforcement officials announced the victim known as the “Lady in the Fridge” is Amanda Lynn Schumann Deza. Withrow said even though her identity has been confirmed, there is still an entire investigation that needs to be conducted to find out who killed her and when.
According to Lt. Linda Jimenez, Deza’s body was found in the fridge in March 1995, but she had been undiscovered for about six months, so she likely died sometime in 1994. The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office partnered with Othram in 2022 to use DNA technology as as a means of identifying Deza. Othram said Deza was “entombed in the refrigerator underwater for several months leading to an advanced state of decomposition.”
KCRA-TV reports Deza’s hands were bound and she had a sock in her mouth. She died from blunt force trauma.
Some skeletal evidence was sent to Othram’s lab in Texas to help create a profile that would either identify Deza or a close family member. Investigators reached out to Deza’s mother and daughter, and the two women provided DNA samples for comparison.
Othram said Deza and her husband were separated, and she had three young children. She was reportedly last seen living in an apartment complex in Napa “with an unidentified male she met in a rehabilitation facility.”
Jimenez said at the press conference Deza was “on a difficult path” around the time she disappeared and died but was working to get back on track.
The investigation into Deza’s death remains active and ongoing.