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.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.
  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • 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.
  • 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

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