True Crime News Roundup: Mother Allegedly Bound, Restrained Her Kids Before Smothering Them To Death

Plus: Woman murdered after judge rejects her request for restraining order; New Jersey teenager found one month after she vanished; judge denies Ghislaine Maxwell’s bail request; and parole board recommends Charles Manson follower be released from prison.

November 12, 2021
Yuhwei Chou photo in front of a blue background

Yuhwei Chou, 36, was charged with two counts of murder

Photo by: Somerset County Prosecutor's Office

Somerset County Prosecutor's Office

Yuhwei Chou, 36, was charged with two counts of murder

By: Aaron Rasmussen

Mother arrested after cops find her two lifeless children “bound and restrained” in car

A New Jersey mother faces two counts of first-degree murder after she allegedly killed her daughter and son, authorities said. On Nov. 9 around 7:41 a.m., Hillsborough Township police responded to a 911 call about a vehicle in a ditch. At the scene, officers found Yuhwei Chou, 36, in a Toyota Corolla with her two children, Samantha Ross, 7, and 11-month-old Paul Ross, Somerset County prosecutors said. “Officers observed that the children were bound and restrained,” one in a booster seat, the other in a baby seat, investigators said. “No vital signs were present on the children and they were pronounced deceased at the scene.” According to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by MyCentralJersey, Chou allegedly told police she duct-taped her children’s faces and zip tied her daughter’s hands and then smothered the two to death. “Chou stated that she has been planning the two murders for approximately one week,” she allegedly said, according to the affidavit. Chou was being held at the Somerset County Jail. Officials have not revealed a possible motive for the crime.

Washington woman murdered months after restraining order request denied

In July 2020, the court issued Monica Murrah a temporary restraining order against her estranged husband, Michael Ryan Murrah, 45. “I am in fear for my life and in imminent danger of my husband due to threats and the incidents that have led me to flee from our home,” she wrote in her petition for an order of protection, obtained by People, claiming Michael verbally and physically abused her and their 8-year-old son. In one instance, Monica alleged, her 45-year-old husband “threatened suicide during arguments. One time he even grabbed a large knife and sat outside our bedroom threatening to kill himself… There have been times we've argued and he's put the knife by our bed.” A judge denied Monica’s request for a permanent restraining order, however, on August 4, 2020, citing insufficient grounds, The Columbian reported. Three months later, on Nov. 7, Michael allegedly stabbed Monica multiple times in the neck and later told officers he committed the crime to kill “starbeast” in order to fulfil a prophecy, according to an affidavit. He faces a first-degree murder charge and is being held on $2 million bail.

New Jersey teenager found almost one month after she disappeared during trip to deli.

Jashyah Moore, the 14-year-old girl who vanished on Oct. 14 during a morning trip to a deli in East Orange, New Jersey, was found safe in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood nearly a month later. “It appears she was a runaway,” Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens said at a Nov. 12 news conference. The New York Police Department said a “sharp-eyed good Samaritan” spotted the girl the day before, and the teenager told officers she was “unhappy at home,” WPIX reported. When she heard her daughter was found safe, Jamie Moore said, “I fell to my knees, I was so happy.”

Judge denies bail for sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged accomplice.

On Nov. 9, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan rejected Ghislaine Maxwell’s proposed $28.5 million bail request on the grounds she was a significant flight risk, Reuters reported. Maxwell, 59, was taken into custody in July 2020 and accused of enabling the late sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein to abuse underage girls. The British socialite faces up to 80 years in prison if convicted of the multiple charges against her, including sex trafficking. She has pleaded not guilty.

Parole board recommends Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten be released from prison.

For the fifth time since 2016, a parole board in California has recommended convicted murderer and one-time Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten be set free. Houten, 72, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection to the August 1969 fatal stabbings of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, as well as conspiracy to commit murder in the deaths of Sharon Tate, Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Steven Parent, and Jay Sebring. Van Houten, who was 19 at the time she committed the crimes, was eventually sentenced to life behind bars. Former Gov. Jerry Brown and current Gov. Gavin Newsom rejected previous recommendations for Van Houten’s release.

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