Unsolved Mysteries: The 2 Biggest Theories About Jennifer Fairgate's Identity and Death
On June 3, 1995, Jennifer Fairgate (sometimes spelled "Fergate") was found dead in room 2805 of the Oslo Plaza Hotel, a famous luxury hotel in Norway. But the catch is that she wasn't really Jennifer Fairgate — this was a fake name that she put down in hotel registration documents. Three days into her stay, the hotel's staff found her with a hole in her head and a Browning 9mm pistol in her hand. The second season of Netflix's Unsolved Mysteries zeroes into this enigmatic woman's death. Much like Rey Rivera's case, officials recovered a body but could not come to a conclusion based on the evidence.
As the story goes, security wanted to get in touch with Jennifer because she hadn't put down a credit card and exceeded the credit limit for her stay. A guard found that her room was double locked. When he knocked, a gun went off. After the head of security came up, she was found dead with a bullet in her head and her right hand holding a gun. She had short black hair (possibly dyed) and blue eyes. Her outfit was all black, and it appeared as though she were ready to go out. She held the gun in a peculiar way, her thumb on the trigger and fingers on the other side of the handgrip. The scene indicated neither traces of struggle nor evidence that a second person had been in her room.
Her death was shrouded in mystery. Police found no wallet, passport, credit cards, or ID. And as it turned out, Jennifer Fairgate wasn't a real name. While the woman didn't have many belongings, she had a briefcase with 25 rounds. All of the labels on her clothes were cut off, and she had many garments for the upper body, but no bottoms — it almost seemed like someone took away her belongings. When police checked the Interpol database for her fingerprints, they couldn't find any matches. There's no information in police documents about the police ever searching the hotel's cameras.
The room was booked for Jennifer and Lois Fairgate. Workers at the hotel recalled seeing a man with her when she checked in, but no Lois Fairgate was to be found. Oddly enough, she didn't give any ID or credit card for her stay, strange given that the Oslo Plaza was a famous hotel with strict protocols. When she checked in, she gave her name, date of birth, phone number, and address. The address that she put down was Rue de la Stehde 148 in Verlaine, a small village in Belgium. But while the village is real, this address doesn't exist. No one in the village seemed to know who she was, either.
The police kept the woman's body for one year before they buried her in an unmarked grave in 1996. Both the circumstances of her death and her identity remain a mystery. Over the last two decades, journalist Lars Christian Wegner has followed her death closely, even prompting an exhumation of her grave that recovered more evidence. Scientists used the carbon-14 levels in her teeth to estimate that she was 24 at the time of her death. A DNA test also revealed that she was of European descent, and police reports indicated that a front desk operator heard her speaking German with an eastern accent.
While not much is known about the mysterious woman in Oslo, there have been two key speculations about her death.
Theory 1: Her Death Was a Tragic Suicide
The main police theory was that she spent most of the time in the hotel room preparing for her suicide. In fact, one report indicates that the police were 99.9 percentsure that her death was a suicide. There's a possibility that she suffered from mental distress and wanted to die alone where nobody could find her.
But the details in the case didn't quite make sense for a suicide. First of all, she held the gun in an odd position. Given her grip (with her thumb on the trigger and hand on the other side), the weapon should have fallen out of her grasp. The gun, after all, had a powerful recoil. Moreover, investigators didn't find any blood spots on her hands, which is unusual. Two shots were fired: a test fire through the mattress and one shot through her head. Investigators located blood in the ceiling, but they didn't find any blood on her hand. And last, but not least, she had 25 rounds, and it seemed strange that she would need this many.
Theory 2: She Was Executed as an Intelligence Officer
There's a lot of speculation over Jennifer Fairgate's identity, and how her occupation might have led to her death. Over the years, investigators have wondered if she was a drug smuggler, assassin, or prostitute. The most popular theory is that she was an intelligence agent. The Oslo Plaza was a popular meeting spot for international political meetings. In the '90s, secret negotiations for Israel and Palestine took place there. In the second episode, Ola Kaldager, a group leader in the Norwegian Intelligence Service, says he believed that she may have been executed as a part of some international operation.
Let's take a look at the evidence. First of all, the registration number on the gun was professionally removed, indicating that whoever it belonged to didn't want it to be traced. Kaldager also notes that clothing tag removal is a common procedure in the intelligence service, done so that people can't track a person's country of origin. There was also a one-day period in which the woman was absent from the hotel — Kaldager explains that it was typical for agents to have a second place to stay. And if she was in fact an intelligence agent, her family would've been given money to remain quiet about her death.