Morenci graduate a homicide victim 2012.07.18

Written by David Green.

Burrow LisaA 2006 Morenci Area High School graduate was among two women murdered Friday night in Blissfield.

Lisa (Burrow) Michelle Gritzmaker, 24, and her sister, Amy Lynn Merrill, 33, were shot to death at Merrill’s Lane Street home in Blissfield at about 11:40 p.m. Friday. Their mother, Robin McCowan, 52, was injured in the shooting and remains hospitalized. Gritzmaker was reportedly almost eight months pregnant and is the mother of two children. Her slain sister had three children.

Law enforcement officials continue their search for the homicide suspect, Thomas Jack Fritz, 38, of Sylvania, a former boyfriend of Merrill’s. Fritz is charged with two counts of open murder and one count of assault with intent to commit murder.

In addition to local police, the Michigan State Police First District Fugitive Team and the U.S. Marshals Service are involved in the search.

Fritz is described as a white male, 5-9, 186 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. He may be driving a burgundy 2002 Honda four-door with Ohio plates. Fritz is considered armed and dangerous and citizens are cautioned not to approach him.

The Toledo Blade reported Tuesday afternoon that Merrill and Fritz, a former military police officer who served in Iraq, have a two-year-old son together and were to discuss custody issues Friday night.

Anyone with information about Fritz’s location is urged to call the state police at 517/241-8000.

Gritzmaker and her sister, Stephanie, earned high school diplomas from Morenci in 2006.

Edititor's Note: Thomas Fritz later killed himself in West Virginia.

  • Front.tug
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  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
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  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Station.2
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  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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