On May 31, 1995, a woman who went by the name Jennifer Fairgate checked into Room 2805 of the Oslo Plaza Hotel in Norway. Three days later, she was found dead in her hotel room. While immediate observations suggested that she may have died by suicide, evidence suggests that it was likely a murder.
Despite extensive research and investigation, very little is known about Fairgate whose case is reviewed in the most recent volume of Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix. For starters, that’s not even her real name. As journalist Lars Christian Wegner explains in the episode, Fairgate checked into the hotel using a fake name and nonexistent Belgian address, all without a credit card or identification. In fact, there is even more reason to believe that her name was a pseudonym. On the hotel forms, the woman misspelled Fairgate as “Fergate” twice.
According to these same hotel in-take forms, there apparently was a man named Lois Fairgate who checked in with her. This was corroborated by a witness at the hotel who said she appeared to be with a man, but it is unclear if investigators ever examined the hotel’s security footage. On June 3, a hotel employee knocked on the door and heard a gunshot. When security arrived 15 minutes later, she appeared to have been the only one staying in the room. She had no purse, toiletries, or passport. All of the labels had been removed from her clothing, and she seemed to only pack clothing for her upper body. No trousers, skirts, or dresses. The door appeared to have been double locked from the inside and the serial numbers on the gun had been removed with acid. In an interview with Refinery29, Unsolved Mysteries co-creator, Terry Dunn Meurer said she believed this case would spark the imaginations, and hopefully investigative skills, of the show’s loyal fanbase. “That one is really mysterious because there are really two mysteries. Who is she and how did she die? There are so many bizarre little details in that case,” said Meurer.
With scant but confounding evidence available, several of the episode’s interviewees believe that Fairgate’s body might have been staged. Norwegian intelligence officer Ola Kaldager theorizes that Fairgate was most likely a secret agent who had been tracked down and assassinated. Cutting tags off of clothes is a “common procedure” for agents, according to Kaldager. The same goes for removing serial numbers on a gun. The episode also notes that Fairgate almost never left her room during her entire stay. The opportune word being almost. Key card data shows that Fairgate left the room at one point and didn’t return for 20 hours. One maid made a statement claiming that during that time she found the room completely empty.
While conducting research for the episode, Meurer says that some of the case’s details were cut for time. One such piece of information is pretty significant. Investigators noted that the room had been double locked from the inside, which was initially used to support the theory that Fairgate died by suicide. But Meurer says that piece of information is not as conclusive as one might think. “They actually did do a test of how somebody could have killed her and locked the door behind them. I guess it’s just not that complicated,” Meurer explains. “The door was locked behind them and there was no balcony. So how else could that happen?” She continued saying that investigators discovered that though it is possible, someone would have to know what they were doing which Meurer believes supports the assassination theory. Another almost missable note from the scene was that, while no toiletries were found in the hotel room, there was evidence that someone had showered as well as a bottle of men’s cologne.
In 2016, Fairgate’s body was exhumed to obtain a complete DNA profile. She remains unidentified, but the new information revealed that she was about 24-years-old at the time of her death and was of European heritage. Hotel employees who spoke with her say she sounded as though she may have been from East Germany.
According to Marie Claire, Fairgate’s case is eerily similar to two other cases in Norway. In 1987, the “Kambo” man was found dead near train tracks in South Norway. Like Fairgate, he did not have identification on him and the tags were cut out of his clothing. Another unsettling similarity is that DNA testing of the man also revealed a connection to Belgium.
About two decades before the incident in the Oslo Plaza Hotel, a woman now infamously referred to as the “Isdal” woman, was found partially burned alive with poison in her stomach in a remote part of Norway called Ice Valley. She too came from or around Belgium. Disguises and encrypted messages were found among her belongings. The tags were also cut out of her clothing. A prevailing theory in this case is that she may also have been a spy.
As is the premise with Unsolved Mysteries, Fairgate’s true identity remains unknown. “Once you run out of leads, there’s nothing you can do and these cases just go cold. That’s what Unsolved Mysteries does. That’s the goal,” Meurer says. “To shine a light on these cases again that need more attention and hopefully they’ll get solved.”
As always, the series will continue to collect any tips that viewers may have that could help solve these mysteries at unsolved.com/tips.