UPDATE: Charred Body Found Near Detroit Belongs To Poker Pro Susie Zhao, Police Confirm
“It's hard to picture her having enemies,” says Susie “Q” Zhao’s former roommate.
The White Lake Township Police Department in Michigan have charged Jeffrey Bernard Morris, 60, with first-degree murder in the slaying of professional poker player Susie “Q” Zhao.
Morris, a registered sex offender, was on probation for retail fraud at the time of his July 31 arrest, according to Detroit’s WJBK.
At a news conference on Wednesday, authorities said cell phone records indicated Morris and Zhao, 33, may have met up at a motel the evening before her burned body was discovered near the Pontiac Lake Recreation Area in Michigan’s Oakland County on July 13, The Detroit News reported.
Detective Lt. Chris Hild noted Zhao had stayed at the motel in the past. However, he did not reveal if she had any previous connection to Morris or what evidence led them to take him into custody. Zhao’s murder does not appear to be connected to gambling, he added.
Morris’ former landlord, Dawn Carr, told WJBK the murder suspect had become homeless after she recently kicked him out.
“He answered an ad to rent from me and I rented a basement to him for four months,” she said. “He seemed like a real creeper to me so I had to get him out of here, so I evicted him.”
Morris is currently being held without bond in the Oakland County Jail.
“This is not the end of the investigation into Susie's death but the beginning of the pursuit of justice for her and her family," Hild said.
Zhao’s Loved ones held a graveside memorial for Zhao, 33, in Troy on Aug. 1.
ORIGINAL POST: 7/28/20
“Badly burned” remains recently found outside Detroit belong to a professional poker player who had recently moved back to the area, police confirmed.
The body of Susie Zhao, 33, was discovered in a parking lot near the Pontiac Lake Recreation Area in Michigan’s Oakland County on July 13. According to authorities, her death could be related to gambling.
“We have to determine whether or not this is a cover-up or this may be some sort of retaliatory incident because of her profession,” Det. Lt. Chris Hild of the White Lake Township Police Department said at a July 22 news conference, Detroit’s WDIV-TV reported.
“We’re looking into every lead, every possibility,” continued the detective. “Obviously when you’re dealing with that type of profession you have potential of owing debt, and those are things that we’re looking into.”
Yuval Bronshtein noted Zhao, his former roommate, had recently relocated from Los Angeles to be near her parents and deal with some personal issues, according to Detroit’s WXYZ-TV.
“It's hard to picture her having enemies,” he said.
Zhao’s childhood friend, Meredith Rogowski, told the New York Post the poker player “was, as usual, very vague about what she was up to in Michigan.”
“[She] said she was exploring new opportunities, mentioned some poker tournaments out of state,” Rogowski said of her “adventurous” friend who “fearlessly pursued anything she wanted in this world.”
Known as “Susie Q” on the professional poker circuit, Zhao wrote on Twitter that her choice of professions was “kinda weird because I’m a girl.”
Over the past decade, Zhao racked up at least $187,000 in tournament winnings, including a windfall of almost $75,000 at the 2012 World Series of Poker.
“We definitely want Susie to be remembered for the bold and carefree way she lived her life, not her tragic end,” Rogowski said.