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.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.soccer.balls
    BEVY OF BALLS—Stair District Library Summer Reading Program VolunTeens, including Libby Rorick, back left and Ty Kruse, back right, threw a dozen inflatable soccer balls into the crowd during a reading of “Sergio Saves the Game.” The sports-themed program continues on Wednesdays through July 27.
  • Front.art.park
  • Front.drum
  • Shadow.salon

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016