Unsolved Mysteries (2020-…): Season 2, Episode 2 - A Death in Oslo - full transcript

After checking in at a luxury hotel with no ID or credit card, a woman dies from a gunshot. Years later, her identity - and her death - remain a mystery.

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[anxious breathing]

[ominous music playing]


[man] It is very intriguing

when you hear
that a young, elegant,

unidentified woman is found dead
in a hotel room.

There must be a family
out there somewhere

that needs to know
what happened to her.

Why was she in Oslo?

What was the
reason for her visit?

Why was she found dead
with a bullet hole through her forehead?

There are so many things
we need to find out.

[suspenseful main theme playing]

[horn blows]

[seagulls cry]

[car horn toots]

[horns blare]

[gentle piano music plays]

[man] The
only thing we know about the woman

is that a Wednesday evening

in the end of May 1995...

a woman checks in
at the Plaza Hotel,

which was, at that time,
the top luxury hotel in Oslo.

[lock beeps]

[door creaks]

[door creaks]

[horns toot outside]

[faint conversation on TV]

[Lars] Three days
into her... her stay,

one of the cashiers
suddenly realized

that she has not given
a credit card for the... the stay.

This was an expensive room.

And there had been a "don't disturb" sign
on the door for two days.

So, one of the security guards took
the elevator up to the 28th floor,

walked up to the door,

knocked on the door...


and then a second later...


That was a gunshot.

[pulsing music plays]

He waited for a little while,

and then he decided
to take the elevator down

to the ground floor,
to... to security headquarters.

[elevator dings]

So, there is a gap,
about 15 minutes,

when the room was not guarded.

So, no one knows

if anyone left the
room in this period.

[clock ticking]

Then the security
chief came back...

- [knocking]
- ...knocked, no one answered.

The door was double-locked
from the inside,

and that means
that you don't want anyone to enter.

And only security can... can enter
the room when it is double-locked.

He used his, uh, security key card
to open the door.

And he sees a woman on the bed.

He smells a strange acrid smell,

is what he describes it like.

So, he closes the door

and orders his, uh, colleagues
to call the police.

[man] So, we approached that room
very carefully.

And we found the woman dead on
his... on her bed.

With a gun in her hand.

And a wound in her head.

And the hotel door
was double-locked from inside.

The woman inside
did not want to be disturbed.

And there were no trace
of other persons in the room.

There was no
evidence of a struggle.

And, uh... what we
found in the room

indicated just she
had been living there.


[lock beeps]

We found there was very few
entering from the room

during the stay
she had at the hotel.

And there was no
immediate entering

around the time for her death.

[Lars] The police theory was
that she had stuck to herself,

uh... she had been alone,

spent almost her entire time in Oslo
within her hotel room,

preparing for what
she knew was coming,

her death.


In one of the documents,
it says 99.9% sure it is a suicide.

But when the investigators
went through the room,

they couldn't find any identity.

[camera shutter clicking]

No credit card,
no driver's license,

uh, no wallet,

uh, no car keys,
no home door keys,

which people normally bring...
bring with them.

No toothbrush, hairbrush,

no, uh, cosmetics,

no... no toiletries.

[Audun] And we did not find
any kind of ID card, not even a passport.

And that's very rare, because

mainly people has to have
a passport to come to Norway.

We looked at her clothes.

And found one odd thing,

that all her labels on all clothes she
had was removed.

[Lars] She had a sweater,

she had trench coats,

she had many clothes
for her upper body,

but nothing from
the waist and down.

And then there were also
some other very strange things.

She was, uh, able
to be given a room,

uh, without giving
any identification.

She didn't show any credit card,
she didn't pay in advance, uh...

It was a five-star hotel,

a place for kings and queens,
and movie stars, and rock stars,

and they were pretty strict
about security.

She didn't even
show her passport.

She was just given a room.

This isn't possible to explain,

because this is a break
of all rules at the hotel.

The only thing we
know about her identity

is the information she gave
on the registration card.

[Audun] And we have,
uh, found her name...

date of birth...

and telephone number,

what country she lived in.

[Lars] She had given
a Belgian street address

in this tiny village.

So, the police, uh...
informed the Belgian police,

wanted to inform the...
the poor woman's family

that she was dead.

And then they suddenly
realized that...

there is no family
to, uh... to notify,

because this
person doesn't exist.

She had checked in
under a false name.

They looked for fingerprints.

They found only fingerprints
from the dead woman.

All fingerprints were, of course,
run through Interpol,

and, uh, no one reacted to it.

So, it... it was
unknown to police.

Then the police
started worrying,

is this something else than a...
than a suicide?

[Audun] Just
two or three days before arrival,

she called the hotel,

and said she was coming
with a Lois Fairgate.

And that name was also written
on the registration card.

[Lars] One of the front desk operators
believes she observed a person,

a man, standing beside her.

But, uh, after that,

Lois Fairgate, uh, disappears.

The hotel had pretty tight security
and they had cameras.

But then, unfortunately,

there are no information
in the police documents

about the police
searching these cameras.

So, to me, it
doesn't look like they, uh...

they ever searched the cameras.

So, there are no other signs
of Lois Fairgate's existence.

[Audun] We
tried first with Belgium and Interpol,

but we got no more
information about them.

[Lars] We don't
know if Lois exists.

The police,
they didn't know what to believe.

I think this story is so weird.

There are so many questions
and so few answers.

But the real question
is her identity.

We were hoping
that missing persons reports

could help us
identify her, but, uh...

because no one from her family has...
has claimed her missing,

we can't decide
who... who she is.

And that is, uh...

We've still got that
question, who is she?


And for the next
couple of weeks,

it was a homicide investigation.

And, uh...

But then the investigation didn't bring
any new information,

so then they went back
to the original theory...

that this was a tragic suicide.

Maybe the woman was depressed
or had some psychiatric problems,

wanted to die alone,
didn't want anyone to... to find her.

Uh, we kept her body, uh...
for one year before we buried her,

in case we should get
an identification of her.

[Lars] In 1996,
they closed the case

and decided that they had to...
to bury the woman.

[gentle, solo piano playing]

It wasn't a funeral,

it was just a burial.

No priests...

a coffin...

and the pallbearers.

How can a...

a funeral or a burial be more...

more alone than,
uh... than this one?

That's the point
when I got involved in this story.

I was doing a series of stories

on missing persons in Norway
and unidentified bodies.

I felt this is a
story I have to do.

[birds chirping]

This is the grave
of Jennifer Fairgate.

This is where she was buried.

No headstone,
because no one knew who she was.

Why is it important to find out

why a person died, uh,

nearly 25 years ago?

People die all the time.

Uh, there are so many
unidentified dead people

all around the world.

So, uh, why is it important?

Well, I think
every life matters.

I think that Jennifer Fairgate,

whatever her name really is,

I think she deserves a headstone
with her name on,

and I think her family deserves to know
what happened to her.

So, I did a story.

That was 1996.

And I kept my notes in, uh...
in my desk drawer.

And for the next 20 years,

from time to time,
I took the story out

because I was sure
this was an intriguing story,

a real-life mystery
that people would get interested in.

And maybe if I could spread this
story wide enough,

that could give us valuable information
about her life,

and that could tell us
what happened in room 2805.

[train horn blares]

Uh, she claimed to be from Verlaine
in... in Belgium,

a tiny village
that actually exists.

That's why we have to go here,

to see if we can find
any trace of, uh... of Jennifer.

Because there must have been
one reason or another

for choosing this little town.

...right here in Verlaine,
so people are commuting...

[man] Lars
asked me if I could help him out,

if we could do
some research, ask,

talk with people
here in Belgium,

if they had heard about the case,
if they knew what was going on.

At first I thought,
"This is going to be easy,

go to Verlaine, show her picture.
If she's from there, people are gonna say,

'I know who she was.'

They're gonna
know her story."

[in French] When
you were mayor in '95,

did you know a lot of people
in this village?

I was born in 1956,
and I was born in Verlaine.

I've always lived
in the same neighborhood,

because I built a house
next to my parents.

So, I've stayed in the same neighborhood
and have always known this place.

And that's how
you become a mayor.

You get to know the people.

Eventually you have great affection
for them. I like to be of service.

But generally, you
know the people.

[Lars in English]
May I show you something?

[in French] Have you ever seen this woman
in Verlaine, in the 1990s?

It doesn't ring a bell.

[in English] It
says nothing to me.

- No?
- No.

[Hubert in French]
But this kind of woman...

[Cedric in English]
Nobody had ever seen this woman.

She was a complete stranger
to these people.

[inaudible conversation]

[Lars] Jennifer claimed to
live in Rue de la Station,

at number 148.

- Here is 96.
- Yeah.

- Ninety-eight.
- Ninety-eight.

- And it literally stops at 100.
- Yeah.

So, that means
the white house is the last house.


- Number 98 is the last one.
- Yeah.

- This is, uh... another street.
- Yeah.

[Cedric] So, I think we can conclude
that she was not from Verlaine.

Otherwise, we should have known...
met someone who actually knew her.

[Lars] It's a
very small village,

and it was even
smaller in the '90s.

[horses whinny]

[Cedric] There was some connection,
but I do not know what that connection is.

[Lars] I'm quite sure
that Jennifer wasn't from this place,

but she must have known something
about this place and this area.

The street exists.

The phone numbers she gave up
are pretty consistent with this area.

So, um... she must have known something
about this place without being from here.

[cows mooing]

She was very successful
at hiding her identity.

And we are still left
with the same problem

as always
in... in this story.

There are no traces,
there are no paths to... to follow.

It's like, uh...
following a ghost.

[quiet, slow music plays]

It's so strange that no one has been able
to recognize this... this woman.

We have made
sketches of... of her.

It has been widely published
in several languages, several countries.

She must have had friends,
school friends,

colleagues, lovers, boyfriends.

Someone knows this woman.

The police theory

was that she might have been
a depressed woman

wanting to take her own life.

But she obviously had a shower.

When she was found dead,

she was neatly
dressed all in black,

with her high-heeled
shoes on her feet.

So, it actually looks like a woman
about to go out for... for a night.

And besides,

the weapon was a 9-millimeter
semi-automatic Browning pistol.

It's a pretty powerful weapon.

But more strange
than that is that

she had a briefcase
with 25 rounds.

And that is another
of the strange things

with this very, very strange
and peculiar case.

[man] It's strange to have a suitcase
with only cartridges in.

You don't need that many cartridges
to kill yourself.

You only need that one.

[Lars] She wasn't very tall,

uh, was a tiny woman.

She had small hands,

and she still had the gun in her hand
when she was found.

She had a... had a very special
hand grip on... on the gun.

She didn't have the usual grip.

She had an opposite grip
with the thumb on the trigger

and her fingers on the other side
of the... of the hand grip.

How could she still hold on
to such a powerful weapon

with this, uh...
this strange grip?

[Geir] The
9-millimeter gun is a...

a tough gun, with a hard recoil.

Here we have a similar gun
that was used, uh, in the case.

This is heavy, it's powerful,

it's more an assault weapon

than a weapon
that you protect yourself with.

She was firing with her thumb...


And then you do have
a very bad grip on the weapon.

And I would say that, normally,
the weapon will be thrown away.

You can just see
the recoil from the weapon.

So, when you fire
and the recoil push the gun back...

I think it's very odd that

that the gun is not, uh,
falling out of her hand.

I think maybe there must have been
a second person.

[man] This could
have been a suicide,

except for the fact that there were
no blood spots on her hand.

In most cases, I
think when people perform suicide,

they... they are shaky,

and they will also put the left hand
around the barrel,

and do it like this.

And then there will
be typical blood spots

or soot deposits here,

as you can see in
this picture, here.

So, I think I've never seen a case
without any blood spots on the hand

when they have performed
suicide like this,

or... or like this, or
against the head.

I think from the
scene investigation,

there were blood spots all over the roof
and the walls and...

But not here.
And that's difficult to explain.

It's a total picture
that is very suspicious.

Well, I think, uh,
homicide cannot be excluded.

[Lars] Was it a homicide?

But why?

And how?

The only thing we know is
that this was definitely the gun

that killed her.

[man speaking Norwegian]

[Lars] In
order to look closer on this,

I decided to reconstruct
the crime scene.

I consulted criminal experts.

These two guys are
really experienced.

[Per in Norwegian] It's strange
that there's no blood on the hands.

But there's no blood on the weapon either.
We're sure that this weapon was used?

There's no doubt about that.

There would have been blood
on her chest, on her clothes.

Uh... If nothing
was blocking it.

If a person is on top of her
and is holding her hands.

I would have been sitting with my knees
on top of her arms.

And then…

Is this what you usually do
when you investigate?

Yes. Then I would
have pushed...

my hand over her face.

Maybe a bit backwards,

so her head is in
the right position,

and then fire.

[Lars] Would it not be natural for
her to fight back?

There was no clear
evidence of a fight.

But could she have been
unconscious earlier?

Could she have been drugged?

She wouldn't be able to resist.

That could be the issue.


To my knowledge,
they didn't test that.

I have the toxicology report.

They only checked for alcohol.

[Per] It's easier to explain
that someone else did it

than her doing it herself.

[Lars in English] To
understand what happened in the room,

I decided to do something I often do
when I work with stories.

I decided to draw a timeline.

And it was a very easy timeline
to... to draw,

because the key card registers

every time you use the key card
to enter the room.

Not when you exit the room.

So, we could see

every time someone had entered the room
with a key card.

Jennifer entered her hotel room
for the first time

evening at 10:44.

[lock beeps]

[lock beeps]

[lock beeps]

Because she wasn't
entering the room many times,

the police theory was that she had spent
most of her time in her hotel room,

preparing for her suicide.

But then when I filled
in the information

from the witnesses,
from the hotel maids,

that gives us
really interesting information.

We know that when the two maids
visited the room

at a little before 1
p.m. on Thursday,

the room was empty.

That means there were no one in the room
until next morning

when Jennifer's key
card is used again.

So, that is a gap of 20 hours.

So, well, where was she?

[child cries]

[murmur of conversation]

[motorcycle engine roars]

Did she know someone in...
in Oslo, after all?

Was she together
with someone else?

Did she wander around in Oslo
for a full day and a full night?

Why was she in Oslo?

What... what was the
reason for her visit?

Why... why did
she have a gun?

Maybe this could be
a drug-smuggling thing.

Could she have been
a top-class prostitute?

Could this woman
be a... a secret agent

from some sort of intelligence service
from one or another country,

or that she might
have been an assassin?

The Plaza Hotel was
Oslo's top luxury hotel at the time,

and it had been the place for several
international top political meetings.

And it was one of the places
for the secret negotiations

between Israel
and the Palestinian authorities.

These meetings
were kept totally secret

because of
their internal political affairs.

And after the
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks,

Norway was involved
in many peacekeeping negotiations.

[Ola] I was a leader of a section
in the Norwegian Intelligence Service.

Mainly working in areas
with war and, um, crisis.

In Middle East, and in Balkan,
and in Africa as well.

It was not James Bond,
but it was a kind of spying.

Of course it was.

It was collecting information,

having people to say things
they don't... want to say

about what's going on.

[in Norwegian] The one thing
that I still think is strange

is that she must have been
incredibly lucky

to have been able to stay incognito
for so many years.

I think it's curious.

There are no answers.

It's bizarre.
Everything is bizarre in this case, but...

I think it's very unlikely
that this is a suicide.

[in English] From my point of view,
this is a very good...

carried out
intelligence operation.

And what... what
exactly happened there,

it's very hard to say,

but I have a feeling
that she was executed.

The first thing was that...

more or less impossible
to shoot yourself in the head.

[in Norwegian] The registration number
was removed from the weapon.

This is typical,
to remove it in a way that is...

[Lars] An illegal weapon.

[Ola] The number has been removed
in a professional way.

Investigations will
always reveal this.

The original number
is very deeply ingrained.

Professionals would
know how deep to go.

[in English] Then I saw that all the marks
from her clothing was taken away.

That's normal procedure
in the intelligence service.

All intelligence
services are doing that.

You are going to
have a cold operation

because you don't want the police
to track this back to some places

or to a country or
something like that.

So, that's, uh... that's
common procedure.

She had been absent from the hotel
for a long time.

That's very common as well.

To have a second place to go to
if something should happen.

That's very common.

That the door was... was locked
from the inside means nothing.

Professional intelligence organizations
have no problems with open doors.

It's no closed
door for intelligence.

It's very hard to find out
if they have manipulated it,

I can tell you.

They are very good in that.

It's a part of the game.

[in Norwegian] That's why
I think it was a professional operation.

All evidence was removed.

Someone cleaned up
the case afterwards.

No family members
asked after her.

There were no traces
left of who she was.

[in English]
If she was an intelligence agent

and was killed in that way,

both sides will be
quiet, very quiet.

And they will go to
the family, maybe,

and say, "You have
some money here.

Keep... keep quiet.
Your daughter is a hero."

Something like that.

And, uh... the government
will take care of that family

for the rest of their lives.

That's very common as well

for professional
intelligence organizations.

[in Norwegian] If not intelligence,
what would it be?

I can't imagine
that it could be anything else.

[Lars in English]
It's interesting to hear Ola's theories,

because he's obviously very experienced
in intelligence and secret operations.

It's still a mystery to me

how she was able to
check into the hotel

without any sort
of identification.

And she had, uh, many clothes
for her upper body,

but nothing from
the waist and down.

There were so many strange
and peculiar things

with this... this story.

Is there anything more, anything new,
that could be... be done?

And then, suddenly,
I got an idea that...

So, today, there are completely different,
new technology

that didn't exist in, uh, 1995.

One thing that we didn't have
was the DNA of the dead woman.

Uh, because in '95, the use of DNA
wasn't common within the Norwegian police.

They had kept a blood
sample of the woman,

but that was destroyed a year after,
when they buried the woman.

Then they also decided
to destroy all evidence in the case,

because this
had to be a suicide.

And the only way
to be able to find the DNA

was, of course,
to... to open the grave.

The day of the exhumation
was really wet

and cold and
gloomy in... in Oslo.

We were really anxious
about what we would find.

We were hoping
that after more than 20 years,

we would find some traces
that could help us identify her.

[suspenseful music plays]

A bit, um, surprised that, uh...
it was so much left of her.

And this was 24 years
ago she was buried?

Twenty-five years?

[Lars] We found
everything we needed.

And it resulted in
a full DNA profile.

The police sent
the DNA for analysis.

And if we are able
to find out who she was,

that would probably
also be able to tell us

what happened
in that hotel room.

And, uh, the result came back.

This deceased woman was
of European heritage,

and according to
the police reports,

one of the front desk operators says
that she spoke German

with an eastern German accent,

so, she might either be
from the eastern part of Germany,

or at least that
she might have been living there

some part
of... of her life.


the police haven't been able
to identify her through the DNA

because there are
no matching DNA profiles.

That is because
no one has reported her missing.

When we didn't succeed with the...
with the DNA,

we had to try other things.

I was wondering,

are there any other ways to...
to determine her identity?

On her registration
card at the hotel,

she claimed to be 21 years old.

At the autopsy, the
doctor in charge landed on 30 years,

plus or minus five years,

which, uh, gives us
a gap of ten years.

I was wondering if we could determine
her age a little more precise.

And then, um, I
was talking with a Swedish professor

and forensic expert,

and he mentioned that there is another way
of determining age of deceased persons.

And I realized,
"Oh, this is really interesting,"

because this was a method
I had never heard about.

Basically, the
principle is that during the Cold War,

between 1955 through 1963,

there were above-ground
nuclear test bomb detonations

across the globe.


All these detonations
above ground,

they created an increase
in the C-14 levels in the atmosphere.

And certain structures,
like the enamel in the teeth...

will incorporate the C-14
that was in the atmosphere at that time.

So, we can use the teeth

to birth-date an individual

by looking at the C-14 content
compared with the atmospheric levels.

[electrical buzzing]

We came up with
a result that, uh...

she most likely was born 1971.

Which makes her 24
at the time of her death.

[Lars] We are closer to a solution
about this big mystery.

So, now we know that
she was probably born

between 1970-72.

And there is reason to believe

she had her childhood

and youth
in... in Germany.

And that limits

the range where she
might have been from.

Then I decided to work
with Europe's largest newspaper,

the Bild-Zeitung
in... in Berlin.

They have a reach
of ten million people daily.

We were hoping
that someone might recognize her.

That was our best shot so far.

We received, uh,
many tips and information.

But, uh, nothing that
has helped us solve this story yet.

[distant horn blows]

I think it's important for society
to try to solve cases like this.

And I also believe

that this woman deserves
to have her name on a gravestone.

[train horn blares]

I think, after all
these investigations,

I actually think
that the only thing we can...

that can help solve this case
is if someone recognizes Jennifer.

I'm absolutely positive

there are people out there
who knows who Jennifer is.

So, that is what
we are hoping for.

That's the only thing
that can solve this mystery.

[suspenseful main theme plays]