On November 3, 2006 Meredith Fisher dialed 911 to report that she had just found her sister lying on the floor and that she believed she was dead. Paramedics arrived and confirmed the death. Her husband, Jason who was out of town on a business trip would be convicted of the murder in 2012 with no evidence linking him to the murder.
Investigators observed that two of the three drawers were missing from a jewelry box. Why would the killer(s) take the drawers? Why not simply take the valuables? Michelle’s diamond wedding ring set was removed from her finger. Also, Young’s family noticed that expensive jewelry was missing, while the costume jewelry was left behind.
While researching this case in an effort to find new evidence that could prove Jason’s innocence, I came across an evidence sheet in which Detective Spivey obtained the jewelry box from Meredith Fisher following the first trial. I was surprised because I assumed the item would have been stored as evidence. However, I learned from Jason’s family that police swabbed the box for DNA and placed it back in the home. It was there when the house was released following the two week investigation.
Jason never entered the home again after leaving for his business trip the evening of November 2. He knew it would be too painful to ever go back there. He put it up for sale and he and Cassidy moved in with family. When the house finally sold, Jason’s family packed everything up and put most of the belongings into a rented storage facility nearby. The box would have been stored there, though the Youngs didn’t give it much thought. They were all coping with a lot, as there were online vigilante attackers harassing them, and it seemed like investigators were focused solely on Jason — despite the fact that he was verified checking into a hotel one-hundred and seventy miles away the night/morning that Michelle was murdered and no evidence pointed toward Jason.
Meredith likely took possession of the box in the spring of 2009 — shortly after Judge Stephens issued a default judgment against Jason in a civil wrongful death lawsuit launched by Michelle’s mother, Linda Fisher. Jason’s storage shed was accessed by Linda and Meredith around that time. According to Jason’s family, they informed the storage manager that they were entitled to access Jason’s belongings as a result of the civil judgement. Whether it was legal or not, they did take things. The jewelry box must have been taken at that time. If not then, it’s very puzzling how she could have ended up with it.
The jewelry box had been a special gift for Michelle. Jason’s mother, Pat Young had it hand-made for her. Why would Meredith have wanted a jewelry box with missing drawers that should have held no sentimental value to her? And why weren’t investigators puzzled about it? How did they find out that Meredith had the box? That is unclear.
In 2011, a DNA swab from the box was sent to LabCorp for more sensitive testing than the SBI’s capabilities. Analyst, Shawn Weiss identified x-chromosome (female) DNA from the swab. Since investigators only provided LabCorp with Michelle’s and Jason’s DNA profiles to compare to the various swabs, it seems no one has ever attempted to identify the origin of that female DNA on the box. They did of course eliminate Jason and Michelle as contributors.
Banana Republic Bag
On November 16 2006, investigators collected a Banana Republic bag while conducting the initial crime scene investigation. It is unclear if it is a store shopping bag or a purse/hand-bag/travel bag. The bag contained a slew of items, to include the following (from court bates stamp 002084): assorted receipts, travel documents, gift cards, photos, calendar, address book, scraps of paper with notes, names, and phone numbers, luggage tags, knife and sheath, answering machine, plug and power supply cord, financial records, and other miscellaneous documents. The investigator noted that it was collected for “trace evidence to reconstruct events.” The bag was sealed in a box where it likely remains as stored evidence. There is no indication that police ever attempted to test the bag or the items inside for DNA and finger-prints. The items are consistent with what one may expect to find in a large jewelry box like Michelle’s. In fact, at trial the defense asked Meredith what sort of items Michelle kept in the box. It’s been a while since I watched the trial, but I recall her saying that Michelle kept jewelry in there and also gift cards. That makes it even more likely that the bag may contain the contents of the jewelry box. Perhaps the killer(s) forgot to take it with them, or simply forgot it in the rush to clean up after the crime. Perhaps the bag is the key to determining who killed Michelle.