On May 31, 1995, a woman who was fluent in both German and English checked into the Oslo Plaza Hotel at 10.44pm.
The hotel is now known as the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel.
Info about the hotel:
Towering 37 stories above Oslo city center, the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Oslo is within walking distance of top attractions such as the Royal Palace, National Gallery, and Oslo Spektrum Arena. Browse the stores on nearby Karl Johans Gate, or access train, bus, tram, and metro lines at Oslo Central Station, right next to the hotel.
It had been completed in 1989 and was the epitome of a modern five-star hotel, with 1,500 beds in 673 rooms.
According to members of the staff, Jennifer spoke English when making her initial booking. On May 31, when calling to say she would arrive later that day and be accompanied by another person, she spoke German, presumably without an accent.
She had booked the room for 3 nights, paying 1,845 kroner for each night. (I did a quick exchange rate and 1845 kroner equals around $222US dollars currently – just to give you an idea of the type of hotel this is). She did not give a credit card – I believe in Unsolved Mysteries they say that she checked in at a busy time (this hotel was used a lot by flight attendants and the last flights of the night had come in), so maybe she just got lucky by not being asked for one?
Some staff were interviewed after about the credit card discrepancy-
“It’s incomprehensible to me. We had strict routines at the hotel. It just shouldn’t be possible” – Tudem Gjertsen, former Plaza Hotel receptionist, Verdens Gang
She was allocated to room 2805 and she gave the following information while she checked in:
Name: Jennifer Fergate
Date Of Birth: August 23, 1973
0748 Rue de la Stehae, 7968, Verlaine, Belgium
Phone Number: 32-68-326548
Company: Cerbis, Belgia
Jennifer also checked a ‘ Lois Fergate’ into the same room. The receptionist said he didn’t see anyone with her while checking her in, but another employee said they saw “Jennifer” with a man, between 25-40 years old, going into the room with her. This man has never been identified.
During Jennifer’s stay at the hotel, nobody recalled seeing her exit or enter her room, except for once which we will discuss soon. A cleaner remembered entering her room and finding the room clean, along with a pair of vivid high heeled shoes that were never located, and it is believed that someone took them. During her stay, she attempted to contact two invalid numbers in Seraing and Grace-Hollogne, Belgium.
On June 2 (a Friday), she called the reception and extended her stay until the Sunday. On the same day at 8.06pm she ordered room service.
The room service attendant accidentally took the food initially to 2804 instead of 2805, the room across the corridor. That was occupied by a Mr F – remember him, we will discuss him soon. The “mistake” was cleared up and the food delivered to the mystery woman directly opposite. She gave a ‘massive tip’ of 50-kroner – around $8.
The food was delivered at 8.23pm and this is the last time that Jennifer was seen alive.
Between Thursday and Saturday, three attempts are made to get in touch with her via the room’s television, asking her to come down to the reception because of missing payments. The last message was sent at 7:36 p.m. on June 3, which someone in the room was confirmed to have read – whoever it was pressed a button on the remote control to acknowledge the message.
This seems weird to me- why did they not ask her to confirm payment when she called to extend her stay?
The day before she died, a member of the staff saw “Jennifer” enter her room and put the “do not disturb” sign on the door handle.
On June 3, at 7.50pm, hotel security went and knocked on Jennifer’s door. Staff had become alarmed after they realised the DND sign was on the door for many days. This was around 14 minutes after the TV message about paying for the room was read by someone in the room. As soon as he knocked, he heard a gunshot.
As two people were registered as staying in the room, he walked back down to the reception, notified his manager and called the police. At this point, the room is left unattended. There was no CCTV available in the hallway.
At 8:04 p.m, the security manager walks upstairs, decides to open the door ever so slightly and spots a woman laying on the bed inside the dark room. After getting no response and noticing a sour smell, he decides to wait outside for the police.
Oslo Police arrived around 50 minutes after the gunshot was heard.
When they accessed the room, they found Jennifer laying on the bed. She had a single gunshot wound to the forehead, and a 9mm Browning pistol in her right hand. Despite there being blood splatter all the way up to the ceiling, no blood was found on her hand, nor was there any trace of gunshot residue on it.
I have read online that the door had been locked from the inside as well, as if someone had locked it after exiting the room. A second key card, which had been allocated to Lois was also found in the room.
The police discovered that there had in fact been two shots fired. The first one seemed to have been a test shot and was fired into a pillow near Jennifer’s body. A burn mark on the pillow showed that it had been flipped after the shot was fired – someone had examined the pillow.
Jennifer’s body was taken for an autopsy and it was determined that her age was closer to 30 (she put her age as 21 when checking in). The official age range now given is 25-35.
She had short black hair and blue eyes, being 5 foot 3 inches tall and weighing 147lbs. Her dental work was expensive, being done in porcelain and gold in a fashion utilised in the United States, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland. Despite the quality of the work, no dental matches were ever made, and her fingerprints didn’t match anyone on record. While the deceased was found to have no alcohol in her system, no tests were done for drugs, and no samples were taken from the fingernails or vagina that might indicate defensive wounds or sexual assault.
There was nothing left in the hotel room that gave any clues as to Jennifer’s true identity. Neither a handbag, credit cards, passports or keys were located and almost all the tags on her clothes were removed. Her only personal belonging was a man’s perfume (Ungaro Pour L’Homme 1.), and all the fingerprints on it belonged to the victim.
The inventory of her items was:
Clothing and accessories
- Black Braun Büffel attaché case.
- Ungaro Pour L’Homme cologne.
- Turquoise-green travel bag.
- One blouse.
- Four bras.
- Long silk underwear.
- High-heeled shoes.
- Four jackets.
- Gold ring.
- Citizen Aqualand diving watch.
Clothing: Black clothing. Long blouse, bra, long silk underwear, stockings and high-heeled shoes made in Italy. Three light-colored bras were located in her travel bag. Four jackets were also found. One was black and leather, another was a light-colored wool material. All but one label from the clothing had been removed.
Jewelry: Gold ring on right middle finger. Citizen Aqualand diving watch. It held three 370 batteries manufactured in late 1994, marked with “W395.” The etching was possibly done by the merchant who changed the batteries. The watch appeared to have been manufactured around 1992.
They also looked into the details she left upon check in.
She claimed to live on a street called Rue de la Stehde in the village of Verlaine, Belgium. However, no such street exists, nor is the area code she wrote down the correct one. There was also no companies in Belgium named “Cerbis” (her stated employer) at the time.
A plastic newspaper bag containing an edition of USA Today was found in the room. The bag was addressed to room 2816, located on the opposite end of the hallfway from 2805. The investigators also found a fingerprint on the bag, which they were unable to identify at the time. A request for an international search was recently submitted through Interpol but I have not heard if anything came from this.
Police also looked at data from the electronic hotel key card that Jennifer used to access her room. They determined that she was not present in her room between 12:34 a.m. on June 1 and 8:50 a.m. on June 2. – Where was she?
The gun used in this case was a 1990/91 9mm Browning produced in Herstal, Belgium, – it only had a partial serial number on it. Some online reports say that they believe the serial number had been dissolved in acid. Also found at the scene was a briefcase (Braun Buffel) containing nothing but 25 bullets. Another 7 bullets were found in the pistol’s magazine.
Housekeepers who had serviced her room observed a single duvet on her bed. At the time of her death, two duvets were present on it. The investigators failed to retrieve any hairs or fluids from the bed. It was thrown away the next day.
When her room service of a “Hotbite” of bratwurst and potato salad was delivered the night before she died, the room service attendant remembers seeing a trolley suitcase in the room which led them to believe that Jennifer may have been a flight attendant. No such suitcase was found in the room after her death.
One housekeeper also mentioned seeing a particularly nice pair of shoes in her closet when cleaning the room on Thursday morning. After Jennifer’s death, the only pair of shoes found in her room was the ones she was wearing, and the housekeeper was certain that it wasn’t the same ones she had seen earlier.
Frustratingly for us now, records for other hotel guests at the time were destroyed in 2010. Online comments do discuss a man who was in room 2804 (directly opposite Jennifer’s room) at the time. This man claimed to be from Belgium, and checked in on June 2. Mister F. told authorities that he had been told that “Jennifer” had been found dead and was asked if he had seen anything suspicious. However, Mister F. checked out on June 3, and before she was found dead.
A journalist named Lars Wegner managed to track Mr F down and interviewed him:
Mr F: “…I remember it well because they asked me about it at the front desk when I checked out. Someone asked if I had heard or seen anything since it was the same corridor. But I slept well that night and knew nothing about it.”
Lars Wegner asks Mr F to confirm the day he left.
Mr F: “I stayed there from Friday to Saturday. When I checked out, they told me about the lady who died…”
LM: “But, Mr F, this is very strange. You checked out of the hotel on Saturday morning but the young woman didn’t die until Saturday night, almost 12 hours later. I don’t see how they could ask you about the death…. when the woman wasn’t dead yet?”
Mr F: “I don’t know anything about that. I just remember they asked me. That’s all I know.”
You can read more about Lars’ investigation into this case at Mystery at the Oslo Plaza. Many of the photos on this blog come from there and here are lots of other crime scene photos there – a great site!
One other weird detail was that in her autopsy, the coroner determined that she had eaten the room service food more than 24 hours after she ordered it.
Jennifer was buried in an anonymous grave at Vestre Gravlund Cemetery.The case went cold for many years. In 2016, Jennifer was exhumed to secure DNA analysis. Blood samples along with much of the other evidence had been discarded in 1996.
Investigators took samples of both teeth and bones. They obtained a complete DNA profile, sending the material for analysis at the Institute for Legal Medicine at Innsbruck Medical University, in Austria. The samples confirmed that she was most likely European and a study of her teeth by Professor Jurian Hoogewerf at the University of Canberra in Australia narrowed the area to Germany. Yet further analysis, this time by Professor Druid in Stockholm, suggests the woman was born in 1971 and was aged 24 at the time of her death, with a small margin of error of just 1.1 years.
Many people have drawn comparisons between Jennifer and Norway’s most famous Doe, the Isdal woman.
This info comes from an article on medium.com titled ‘The Mysterious Death of Jennifer Fairgate’:
The Isdal Doe is a mysterious woman who died after being set on fire at Bergen on November 29, 1970. Police at the time judged the matter to be a suicide. Yet, details such as missing clothing tags meant that the mystery lingered. The possibility that the security services were involved has always seemed likely, and neither police nor the public have managed to identify the woman. The case was certainly known in 1995, and it’s possible that somebody, wishing to remain anonymous, may have taken inspiration from the successful methods utilised by the Isdal Woman. Like “Jennifer”, the Isdal Woman consistently gave her nationality as Belgian when she was actually German, and she was likely raised in French-speaking Belgium. The Oslo Woman had expensive gold and porcelain work done on her teeth, while the Isdal Woman also had unique gold-filling dental work. Could it be that the woman in Room 2805 was deliberately trying to make her own suicide echo the Isdal Woman? If she was trying to create these false echoes, it would explain the failed calls to the Belgium and simple mistakes such as street names.
So, what is Jennifer’s story?
Theories about this case:
- Some people believe that Jennifer was a secret agent and that she was murdered for something she knew. Norwegian intelligence operative Ola Kaldager believes that this may be the case.
- Other theories include Jennifer being flight attendant, high-end prostitute, participant in a major drug operation or an assassin.
- Or was this just a simple suicide and she did not want her family to know or find out about her death?
There are lots of great sources with more info about Jennifer’s death. Check out all the links included in this blog and this reddit thread has a lot of information on this case.
You can discuss Jennifer’s case at TrueCrimeSociety.com.