EXCLUSIVE: Person of interest revealed in cold case murder

February 24, 2013 11:56:29 PM PST
In what could possibly be a big break in a decade-old murder in Hillsborough, police say they have a person of interest in the high-profile murder of realtor Priscilla Ng.

ABC7 News reporter Vic Lee has been following this case for years and has known about this development for some time, but ABC7 News decided to hold the story at the request of Hillsborough police, for fear of jeapordizing the investigation. However now, the story can be told without fear of compromising that probe.

November 9th, 2007. The email came out of nowhere. For this story, we've changed the sender's name to "Dick" to protect his safety. He is 8,000 miles away from the Bay Area and found ABC7 News stories about the high-profile Hillsborough murder on the internet.

It happened in June 2004. Priscilla Ng was murdered in her home. Police said two Asian men broke into the house in the middle of the night.

"We're lacking specific identification of the suspects involved," said then Hillsborough police Captain Mark O'Connor in a 2004 interview.

The killers tied up Ng and her house guest. She died of asphyxiation. Her guest was seriously injured but survived. Police said it was not a random murder.

"She's just a very generous person," one person told ABC7 News after Ng's death. The 58-year-old realtor was well known in the Chinese community. A bitter legal battle with her divorced husband Stephen over their vast assets ended the day before her murder.

It was Father's Day and Steven Ng had taken their 13-year-old daughter to his Hillsborough home for the weekend. When reporters asked if he was a suspect, police said no. "At this time, Steven Ng is not considered a suspect in this case," O'Connor said.

A year had passed and Priscilla Ng's daughter from a prior marriage announced a $1 million reward. "I pray that the people responsible for this will be found," Doris Ng said in a June 2005 interview.

In his emails to ABC7 News, Dick said he wanted the reward. He said the killers live in Singapore and he knew details of what happened that night. He wanted ABC7 News to introduce him to Hillsborough police investigators. Since then, Hillsborough police Capt. Doug Davis says they've had extensive contact with him over the years.

"And they've been very candid and he's been very forward with information," Capt. Davis said.

Meantime, Dick kept in touch with Lee as well through several dozen emails. At one point, he wrote about his frustrations over the slow progress of the probe. A big obstacle was that one of the suspects had been arrested for a murder in Singapore.

"Singapore was investigating their own homicide and going through the court process of their homicide related to this person," Capt. Davis said. "So naturally, for their purposes, that takes precedence over anything else."

The police captain said that prevented his investigators from going to Singapore to interview the suspect.

"They've now adjudicated that case. This person has been sentenced and that provides us a new opportunity to maybe look into some of the leads that we may get from talking to this person," Capt. Davis said.

Davis said that over the years, police have received a lot of leads from people wanting the $1 million reward.

"What made this lead unique is that the information provided to you, we consider very credible," Capt. Davis told Lee.

With this new development, Hillsborough police say they are ruling no one out as suspects or persons of interest. They say there were at least two people involved in the murder, possibly more.


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