A financial analyst is murdered, perhaps to silence her investigation of Mexican banks.
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:
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:
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:
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:
Emily said that Lynn told her that she had uncovered some questionable lending practices:
On December 10, the day before the fire, Lynn once again hinted to friends that she had uncovered some potentially explosive information. Emily speculated:
The last time anyone spoke to Lynn was late on the night of the fire. According to Ann Saer:
Lynn’s mother says she was told that the fire looked like a professional job:
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:
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.