Police name suspect in Cupertino murder

April 17, 2009 11:36:10 PM PDT
Police are investigating a rare murder in an upscale Silicon Valley community that has shocked residents. A woman was killed and her husband was wounded when someone attacked them in their Cupertino home.

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Police in the South Bay are looking for a gardener wanted for killing a client and attacking her husband. Investigators told ABC7 the couple's children were home when it happened. The suspect is a 45-year-old landscaper from Fremont.

The children were inside the home and saw the attack. One of the kids called 9-1-1 and said that their parents were being attacked.

Investigators say they don't know why this landscaper attacked his Cupertino clients, but they do think Huaichang Zhao killed the woman he was working for, severely hurt her husband, and did it all while their children were home.

"We've been in and out of the county all day looking for Zhao, following up on any known associates, any relatives. We're doing our best to locate Zhao," said Santa Clara County Sherriff Sgt. Don Morrissey.

Investigators say Zhao lives in Fremont. The 45-year-old weighs 200 pounds and is 5'7" inches tall. Sheriff's deputies say he drove away from the murder in a white Ford F-150 pick-up truck with a black cargo rack.

"I'm shocked and dismayed this could happen in our small, little, wonderful town of Cupertino," said Patricia Cruz, a resident.

Residents gathered next to the crime tape throughout the day to try and piece together what happened. Investigators haven't released the victims names and people living around here don't seem to know the family.

"It's a new development down there. That's why nobody knows them," said Barbara Goldman, a resident.

Sheriff's deputies were slow to release information, giving the residents time to worry about a number of possible scenarios. Some neighbors actually had a hunch a contractor could be to blame.

"There's a lot of new homes being built here, so if it's workers or something you have coming in to do landscaping to work on your home, it's very much a concern," said Pam Levens, a resident.

On Friday around 9 p.m., investigators announced they actually do suspect the family's landscaper.

"It's shocking I don't know how to react to this. I feel sad for the kids?very sad," said Mak Karanth, a resident.

People with any information should call police at: (408) 808-4500
Anonymous Sheriff's Office tip line: (408) 808-4431

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