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[Case Resolution] Ada Elizabeth Fritz Identified

On May 18th, 1976, the remains of a mature adult female were discovered in Session's Creek, Grand Bay, Alabama sparked a mystery that remained elusive for many years. The victim exhibited a gunshot wound to the back of her head and mutilation to her hands, presenting a complex investigative mystery to be solved. Intermountain Forensics is honored to join the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office and Moxxy Forensic Investigations to share that, as a result of combined investigative and innovative scientific efforts, this victim has been identified as Ada Elizabeth Fritz after 47 long years.

Reflecting on key milestones in this complex investigation, in1979 the then unidentified remains of Ada Fritz were cremated and interred by the Anatomical Donations Program at the University of South Alabama, creating a monumental challenge to her identification. It wasn’t until December 2022, when Olivia McCarter of the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office, in collaboration with Moxxy Forensic Investigations, entrusted our laboratory with an aged ceramic dental mold, which had been recovered prior to cremation. Turning to a tool which had proven successful in many other challenging forensic cold cases, our laboratory used the MVAC DNA collection device to collect any residual DNA that may have remained adhered to the dental mold belonging to this Jane Doe – an intriguing potential solution given the passage of time and the lack of conventional sources for identification.

Astonishingly, the sample yielded enough DNA to proceed with further testing, a testament to the ingenuity of the investigators and the power of the MVAC collection device. Whole-genome sequencing was conducted by Intermountain Forensics in early 2023, which resulted in data files suitable to upload to genetic genealogy site. Utilizing these files, the Moxxy Forensic Investigation team achieved a monumental breakthrough in this decades old mystery – identifying Jane Doe as Ada Elizabeth Fritz.

Ada, who would have been 61 years old at the time of her disappearance, was born in 1914 in Sheridan, Wyoming. He life story had been a mystery for decades as no records of missing persons were associated with her and her last known residence was Batesville, Arkansas. The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office reached out to Ada's nephew, who provided a confirmatory sample, cementing her identity and allowing her name to be restored to her.

The collaborative efforts of Mobile County, Moxxy Forensic Investigations and Intermountain Forensics, fueled by inventive thinking, played a pivotal role in overcoming the challenges presented to identify an individual whose remains were long since laid to rest through cremation so many years ago. At Intermountain Forensics, we are honored to have been given the opportunity to work with these amazing investigative partners. We extend our heartfelt appreciation for the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office, Moxxy Forensic Investigations, MVAC Systems, GEDMatchTM, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in Santa Ana, CA, for their invaluable contributions to reclaim Ada Elizabeth Fritz's name for herself and her loved ones.

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