What We Know About ‘Jennifer Fairgate’ of the Oslo Plaza Hotel Mystery

Episode 2 of Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries recounts the case of the Oslo Plaza Hotel Mystery.

a close up of a man wearing glasses and looking at the camera: Netflix's 'Unsolved Mysteries' episode 2 revisits the death of "Jennifer Fairgate," a woman found shot at Oslo's Plaza Hotel in 1995.

© Netflix
Netflix’s ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ episode 2 revisits the death of “Jennifer Fairgate,” a woman found shot at Oslo’s Plaza Hotel in 1995.

On May 31, 1995, a woman checked into the Plaza Hotel in Oslo, booking a room on the 20th floor. On the night of June 3, a security guard went up to 20th floor to check on the guest after it was discovered that she had not provided payment info for the room. The guard knocked on the door, and then immediately heard a gunshot. He left the hallway, returning fifteen minutes later with other security. They found the body of the woman, lying on the bed, holding a handgun, and with a gunshot wound to the head. She was dead.

Journalist Lars Christian Wegner, interviewed for the docuseries, covered the case in Norway at the time. Unsolved’s second episode follows Wegner as he attempts to make sense of the events now 25 years later.

No identification was found of the woman. No credit card or driver’s licenses. No keys. Not even a toothbrush. The labels on her clothes were removed. There was a briefcase in the room with 25 rounds of ammunition. Audun Kristiansen of the Oslo Police Department noted there were no traces of other persons in the room or evidence of a struggle. Oslo Police documents state a 99.9% certainty that the death was a suicide.

Police buried the body and closed the case in 1996.

But what actually happened?

a close up of a man wearing glasses and looking at the camera: unsolved mysteries

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unsolved mysteries

Who was Jennifer Fairgate?

One of the few documents police and reporters were able to use was a registration the woman signed while checking in. She signed the registration card “Jennifer Fairgate” and listed an address in Belgium. Neither details yielded any results. “There are no traces. There are no paths to follow. It’s like following a ghost,” Wegner said.

Wegner speculated she might have been a drug smuggler, a high-class prostitute, an intelligence agent, or even an assassin. The hotel often held peacekeeping negotiations between foreign powers. It wasn’t uncommon for powerful people to stay there.

Ola Kaldager, a group leader for Norway’s intelligence service, E14 noted to the mysterious nature of the crime scene, including the position of the gun, the evidence recovered, and the reconstructed events of her coming and going (she left her room only a few times and for long intervals).

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“From my point of view this is a very well carried out intelligence operation,” he said. “What actually happened there is very hard to say, but I have a feeling that she was executed.”

Kaldager pointed out that the registration number was removed from the gun “in a professional way.” Removing clothing tags, he noted, was also common for agents in the field

“If she was an intelligence agent and she was killed in that way, both sides would be very quiet,” he said. It’s possible families were notified and paid never to come forward.

The receptionist at the hotel noted that Fairgate had an East German accent. In 2016, her grave was exhumed. The DNA collected, however, only confirmed she was of European heritage—though, an analysis of her teeth put her at 24 at the year of her death.

The best guess at her identity are only these descriptors: a woman born in 1971 and likely from East Germany.

a bedroom with a large window

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Was Jennifer Fairgate killed?

Fiargate had also written “Lois Fairgate” on the registration card, suggesting there may have been a guest. But the man, who some witnesses believed they saw, seemed to have disappeared

The crime scene, however, itself several questions as to how the unidentified woman died. She had apparently used a powerful Browning pistol to shoot herself, pulling the trigger with her thumb.

Gier Skauge, retired crime scene investigator, told Netflix, “I think it’s very odd that the gun is not falling out of her hand [given the recoil].”

Torleiv Ole Rognum, MD, PH.D., chief pathologist at Oslo University Hospital, also noted that there were no blood spots on her hand. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a case without any blood spots on the hand.”

Investigators only checked for alcohol and not drugs in her system (her lack of a struggle may suggest that she was unconscious if the death was in fact homicide).

It’s possible, experts noted in the docuseries, that someone could have knelt over her and fired the gun at point blank while she was unconscious.

What now?

The case is now almost 25 years old. Still, people like Wegner remain determined to give Fairgate an identity. If you have any new information that could aid investigators, contact VG newspaper at [email protected]

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