In March 1995, an individual recycling in the unincorporated community of Holt in San Joaquin County located a partially submerged refrigerator in an irrigation canal off Bacon Island Road. Inside the refrigerator was a woman’s body. Investigators at the time believed the woman had been entombed in the refrigerator underwater for several months leading to an advanced state of decomposition.
For nearly twenty-seven years, San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office investigators have been trying to identify the homicide victim dubbed “Lady in the Fridge.” In 2022, San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office and the San Joaquin County Medical Examinier’s Office partnered with Othram to determine if advanced forensic DNA testing could help establish an identity for the woman or a close relative. Skeletal evidence was sent to Othram’s lab, where Othram’s forensic scientists developed a DNA extract and used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the unknown female. In addition, Othram’s in-house genealogy team used forensic genetic genealogy to produce investigative leads, which were returned to San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office Investigators.
A follow-up investigation contacting the victim’s possible mother and daughter was made. They provided their DNA sample to compare, confirming the identification of Amanda Lynn Schumann Deza, born August 11, 1965.