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.

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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
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    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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