A financial analyst is murdered, perhaps to silence her investigation of Mexican banks.

Lynn Amos

Just her bed was on fire

CASE DETAILS

Police found accelerants on the mattress

On December 11, 1995, at 3:30 A.M., fire units raced to a blaze in the Georgetown section of Washington D.C. Once inside, firefighters discovered that the fire was restricted to the upstairs bedroom. In fact, the bed itself was on fire. At first it looked like no one was home. But as the smoke cleared, firefighters were stunned to see a woman in the bed. She was barely alive. Thirty eight-year old Lynn Amos was a financial analyst who had lived in Washington for just five months. She was rushed to a local hospital with third degree burns over 80% of her body. Anne Saer was a friend of Lynn’s:

“One of the nurses who saw her when she first was taken to the hospital told us, later on, that she asked Lynn if she knew what happened. And Lynn shook her head ‘No’.” 

At first, investigators believed it was an accident. Lynn’s blood alcohol content was .25 which was two and a half times the legal limit for driving in Washington, D.C. That, and the fact that they found a cigarette butt, seemed to indicate that Lynn Amos had been smoking in bed.  But Lynn’s friend Emily Smith didn’t believe it:

Was she killed because of her job?

“Lynn didn’t smoke. I smoked until recently. If you’re a closet smoker, you certainly smoke with your friends who smoke. There were no dirty ashtrays in the house. There were no matches. There were no cigarette packs. There was no evidence that she was smoking in bed.”

The police had to rethink their initial theory when insurance investigators found accelerants on the mattress, floor and pillow. According to Lynn’s mother, Helen Amos, they concluded that the fire had been deliberately set:

“The insurance investigators’ report showed that there was a combination of kerosene, gasoline, and turpentine. And the doctor told me that her burns were consistent with those from a fire that was accelerated. He told me at the hospital. He couldn’t believe that only she and the bed had burned. He said she looked like the result of a house having been burned around her.”

Lynn Amos clung to life, barely conscious and unable to speak. Ten days later, on December 21, 1995, she died. The cause of death was officially listed as “homicide.”  But who would want Lynn Amos dead and why? She was a friendly and outgoing person with no known enemies. But Lynn apparently did have her secrets. In the weeks before she died, she had suddenly stopped talking to her friends about her job. Soon, a motive for Lynn’s murder began to emerge.

Lynn Amos had moved to Washington to take a position with a management-consulting firm. As part of her job, she made frequent trips to Mexico to assess the lending practices of several large banks. Less than a month before the fire, Lynn had lunch with a close friend, Emily Smith. According to Emily, Lynn seemed reluctant to talk about work:

“I realized when we were having lunch that I didn’t know what she was working on, and that was unusual because we talked about work a lot. We did sort of similar type things.”

Emily said that Lynn told her that she had uncovered some questionable lending practices:

“So I said, ‘Well, is your report going to be ugly?’ And she said, ‘Yes, it’s gonna be really ugly,’ and that was all she would say.”

On December 10, the day before the fire, Lynn once again hinted to friends that she had uncovered some potentially explosive information. Emily speculated:

“It’s possible that she bumped into a loan having to do with drug money or a fraudulent loan.  That’s the sort of thing you might bump into when you’re reviewing credit portfolios.”

The last time anyone spoke to Lynn was late on the night of the fire. According to Ann Saer:

“We do know that she called her office to confirm that she was going to be late for work the next day. So we know Lynn was at home, lucid, completely fine, had a 30-minute conversation at 10 o’clock at night. At 10:30, we then don’t know what happened.”

Lynn’s mother says she was told that the fire looked like a professional job:

“When we first told our attorney how Lynn was killed, his first statement was, ‘That’s a professional hit.’ The fire detective who came to the scene said that it had all the indications that this was a controlled fire, that somebody was there making sure that this fire didn’t do more than it needed to do.”

Lynn’s friends and family believe that sometime after midnight, the killer broke into the town house. There were no signs of forced entry, so he may have had a key. Or maybe Lynn knew her assailant. Anne Saer believes that the intruder may have forced Lynn to drink until she passed out:

“To achieve the level of alcohol that she was found with, it takes between 9 and 14 drinks in an hour for a woman her size, which is almost impossible to consume. That means you have a new drink every 4 to 7 minutes.”

Then, the killer tried to make her death look like an accident.

Lynn Amos never completed her report on the Mexican banks. Her former employer declined to appear on camera for this segment. In a letter to our producers, he wrote, “We are troubled by the same questions being asked by investigators. We can only hope that forensic science will provide some answers.


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season five with Dennis Farina and coming soon with Robert Stack. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

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28 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    What about her own company, it’s not unheard of for them to send people out on a job and they find something they shouldn’t, if they were in bed with the cartel they would’ve kept an eye on her. That’s one place to start, also the accelerants, it’s now possible to discover which brands were baught where and there should be some public record, another thing is there a professional arsonist, they will have killed again and again after, look for similar MO’s as Lynn’s and you should get closer.

    Reply

  2. Anonymous

    My name is Eric, I live in Miami. I think I could be a huge help to you guys. I am a magician. Since I read above that this crime scene was “Staged” I think I can use my skills as a magician to catch the killer. If you would like my help, I’ll be more than happy to help. But if I’m going to help you, I need everything you guys have. Everything to the smallest detail. I am just offering my help. Thank you.

    Reply

    • unsolved

      Hi Eric – for more details you will need to contact the Metropolitan Police Department. Thank you.

      Reply

    • Intuitive

      How in the heck do you think you can solve this murder as a magician? Are you going to pull evidence out of hats and read cards that tell what happened? Eric, do us all a favor and go magick yourself a life because you apparently do not have one. This is a murder case not some fifteen minute play game for you to get attention with. Of all the comments on this site yours is highly offensive and disgusting. Do you have morales???

      Reply

  3. HughRax

    Hello. And Bye.

    Reply

  4. Chanita

    Rip Sweet pea

    Reply

  5. Irma

    I wondering if investigator took a look at the work she had been looking into before her death. I think that a better thing to do, cause it’s apparent that whatever she had been working on has a lot to do with this murder. I would start there and see where it takes me. zzzzzzzshe hay have come across banks that are taking dirty money. Mexico is know for it’s drugs and what better way than the banks.

    Reply

  6. chanita

    was she killed because she knew too much? THE ANWSER IS YES AND HERES WHY…a SHE KNEW A WHOLE LOT MORE THAN SHE WAS SUSPPOSED TO KNOW AND FINALLY b ITS BECAUSE SHE PROBLEY HER LIFE WAS IN DANGER!i

    Reply

  7. Nikki

    What about her friend? We know that she smoked, so the cigarette could’ve belonged to her. And of course she had access to the house, since they were so close.
    Maybe she did know what Lynn was working on and wanted to kill her for that?

    Reply

  8. Kay

    What consulting company did she work for?

    Reply

  9. LUIS FREEH

    A COLLEGE KEG PARTY TO CHUG FROM THE KEG WOULD GET HER THAT BLOOD ALCHOL LEVEL, A DESIGNATED DRIVER WHO ENCOURAGED HER TO LIVE A LITTLE WOULD HAVE BROUGHT HER BACK TO HER HOME, CAFFIED HER UP TO BED AND HAD “PLENTY TIME” TO LITE THE FIRE WITH HER IN THAT STATE. WHO WOULD HAVE TAKEN HER TO A COLLEGE KEG PARTY? THAT’S YOUR MAN!

    Reply

  10. LUIS FREEH

    HEY! “ERIC MILLIN”! SHOW “HURATIO KANE” YOUR MAGIC TRICK.

    Reply

  11. unknown

    A magician is not as stupid a thing as you think, from merely knowing his hobby I know that he is highly observant, knows about misdirection and how to hide things in plain site, they can analyse very hard to miss detail that the police are too busy to notice, a magician is a jack of all trades, chemistry, biology, fraud (no offence Eric) and misdirection. Hence why alot of magicians have a career. They are brilliant deductionists.

    Reply

  12. Anonymous

    what if the killer smoked that cigarette
    couldn’t they get DNA from it?

    Reply

  13. Johnny

    I don’t think this Lynn Amos Case will ever be solved. Sounds like a professional hit and a threat for any others to back off investigating the Mexican banks. The cigarette a good clue since Lynn didn’t smoke. Hope this case gets solved but doesn’t look promising. Case a stone wall and ice cold.

    Reply

  14. Jackie

    This is going to sound weird but I just watched this show like 15 min ago. Before this airing I’d never heard of this, and it got my interest at first mainly because the crime took place in the DC area- I moved to Northern Virginia 4 years ago. As the story continued and they revealed that they suspected she might have been murdered by Mesicans because of her job it just hit me. About 11 years ago I lived in Mexico City for a few months as an expat fiancee. I did not soeak the language, could not work and with a 5 yr old kid and the stories of kidnappings, murders sort of made me leave the country and my fiance and we moved back to the US. However, during my stay we went out a lot to lots of places, met all sorts of people At clubs, restaurants, expatriate meetings, gatherings and I remember hearing all sorts of stories about how corrupt the businesses, financial institutions were. I did not know that much since I did not work but my ex fiance was a risk manager for a German co. They said they would do anything and everything to go on with their businesses and anyone who got in their way would be punished. Of course, I knew about the drug cartels and their way of dealings with people but taking out people for getting in the way of financial dealings was a surprise to me. Then again I remember I gave ‘tips’ to people, cops, to even give me directions everytime I got lost -there was no siri or iphones back then. I specifically remember them saying well, they would behead you, shoot you in the head, accidentally run you over, burn you alive in your home, etc. So, now it just hit me hearing this story, I believe it was in 1995(i was living in Europe at the time) could it be actually true Lynn Amos was murdered by a hitman at her home because of what she knew. I wish I could help more in this case. I just had to write this comment and mention what I have heard. I do not want to anger Mexicans, however it is a known fact the country is dangerous (even getting a cab) especially for expatriates, especially families with little foreign kids.
    I hope the police can solve this case and bring justice to Lynn.

    Reply

    • LUIS FREEH

      FOREIGN! FUNNY! “I” DON’T “RECALL” HER BEING FOREIGN. LITTLE FOREIGN KIDS.

      Reply

    • Anonymous

      You’re saying nothing new. We all know how dangerous Mexico can be, “you just had to write what you heard”. It means nothing do you know how many people have been murdered since then? And you cant even provide a name or anything. And nothing sounds weird you just heard alot of talk.

      Reply

  15. a.p

    probably the killer is someone related to her job .(just a guess)

    Reply

  16. a.p

    the cigarette butt belonged to the killer. if lynn didn’t smoke . so does this mean that the killer who knew lynn , came to her house , made her drink , and then using the cigarette butt and alcohol lit the fire ?

    Reply

  17. opp

    What about the alcohol did it belong to lynn or did the arsonistbring it incase lyn didn’t drink as well as smoked

    Reply

  18. joe

    What about who did she call no number from phone company or callr id from her phone

    Reply

  19. joe

    I guessinG It’s an ongoig investigation and the police can’t discuss the case , but it also seem lynn was force to drink in hope to bur from inside her body as well as from out side with the alcohol , unsloved talk about insurance investigator, who hired them for what like an out side pi or was there money involved in lynn death? Also what happen too the person before lynn did they disappear quite left the company if they alive maybe they know somthing..

    Reply

  20. A Concerned Person

    Maybe he’s the killer and wants to relive what he did. I know killers love the memories of what they did. Just saying…

    Reply

  21. caring heart

    This should be taken serious! If you know you can’t be of any help, don’t post stupid comments! This is not a game! “Mr. Magician”

    Reply

    • A confused replier

      What do you mean? He is taking it seriously; even though he’s a magician, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to genuinely help.

      Reply