‘Lady In The Fridge’ Identified After Nearly Three Decades, Killer Still At Large

The murdered body of a woman was found in a fridge in a small California community nearly three decades ago, and she was finally identified as Amanda Lynn Schumann Deza. Now the search for her killer continues.

March 02, 2023
The body of Amanda Lynn Schumann Deza, 29, pictured here, was found in 1995 and has only recently been identified.

The murdered body of a woman was found in a fridge in a small community an hour east of San Francisco nearly three decades ago, and she was finally identified as Amanda Lynn Schumann Deza. Now the search continues for her killer.

Photo by: San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office

San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office

In March 1995, a young man searching for recyclables discovered the body of a murdered woman in an irrigation canal in Holt, California, a community about an hour east of San Francisco. The body was in an advanced state of decomposition within a refrigerator that was partly submerged in water. A sock was stuffed in her mouth, and her hands had been tied together with tape, reported KCRA. She had apparently been left there for around six months before the refrigerator was discovered.

Authorities believed the woman was a homicide victim because her body showed obvious injuries. According to Newsweek, she was killed by blunt force trauma to the head. The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office investigators tried to identify the victim, but their search was complicated by many factors, including the fact that the murdered woman was never reported missing. The case eventually went cold. Meanwhile, there were a lot of advances in modern technology since the body was initially discovered.

The victim was finally identified in February 2023 as Amanda Lynn Schumann Deza, a mother of three who was only 29 years old when she was murdered. San Joaquin Sheriff Patrick Withrow explained at a press conference they identified her through forensic genealogy. The sheriff’s office worked with Othram Inc., a company that specializes in using forensic genealogy to help solve cold cases, to identify her.

Investigators now hope to solve Deza’s murder. According to SFGate, they know that the woman had three children and was separated from her husband. She was last seen alive at an apartment complex in Napa, California. She was with an unknown male who she met at a rehabilitation facility.

“This case is far from being closed, and justice is far from being served. I look forward to prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law the coward that committed this heinous act,” San Joaquin County district attorney Ron Freitas explained at a press conference.

Stockton Crime Stoppers is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of Deza’s murderer. Anyone with information about the murder is encouraged to contact the cold case unit at (209) 468-5087 or coldcase@sjgov.org.

Next Up

1986 Cold Case Murder Victim Identified As California Woman After Nearly Four Decades

In February 1986, the body of a woman was found near campsites in San Diego County. 37 years later, thanks to advances in DNA technology, she was finally identified as Claudette Jean Zebolsky Powers.

5 Questions The Gabby Petito Case Brought Up About Domestic Violence

The murder of 22-year-old Gabby Petito at the hands of her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, sparked a national conversation about the signs of domestic abuse.

Who Killed Maria Hsiao? Art Student Celebrating Her 21st Birthday Shot Outside Nightclub

“Even someone with second or third-hand information about what happened may hold the missing piece of the puzzle,” Palo Alto police say.

Trans Woman Kitty Monroe Murdered In Domestic Violence Incident Remembered As A ‘Beautiful Person’

She is just one of many transgender and gender-nonconforming people violently killed in the U.S. in 2022.

Man Convicted In 1981 Cold Case Murder Of Woman Strangled To Death With Her Own Pantyhose

More than 40 years after the murder of 30-year-old Sonia Carmen Herok-Stone, DNA from under her fingernail led to the conviction of Michael Scott Glazebrook.

80-Year-Old Woman Charged In 1985 Cold Case Murder Of Romantic Rival

A love-triangle resulted in the tragic murder of Yvonne Menke nearly four decades ago. The alleged killer, now 80, has finally been arrested for shooting her three times in her head and neck.

Lululemon Murder: Store Employee Suffered Over 300 Blows, Severed Spinal Cord In Fatal Attack

Brittany Norwood killed her coworker Jayna Murray during a possible dispute over shoplifting, according to authorities.

Headless, Handless Body Found In 1980 Was Finally Identified Over Four Decades Later

On March 20, 1980, police in Fishkill, New York found a decapitated and handless body. 42 years later, the body was identified as 44-year-old Manhattan woman Anna L. Papalardo-Blake.

30 Years Later, Tech CEO Charged With The 1992 Cold Case Murder Of Roommate’s Girlfriend

Advances in DNA technology led to the July 2022 arrest of John Kevin Woodward for the murder of 25-year-old Laurie Houts.

Man Accused Of Murdering Grad Student In L.A. Furniture Store Indicted On New Charges

In January 2022, Shawn Laval Smith allegedly attacked 24-year-old Brianna Kupfer after he entered the business where she was working alone, police say.