By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
Authorities in Northern California have arrested 30-year-old Song Wang, a Seattle-area man accused of killing a woman and then setting fire to her Bellevue apartment. He will be returned to Bellevue where he will be charged with first degree murder and first degree arson. It is believed that the woman was tied to a prostitution operation and that Wang attempted to rob her.
An “astute” highway worker in Northern California spotted Wang at a highway rest stop and immediately alerted authorities. U.S. Marshals announced late Monday night that Wang had been arrested without incident in Siskiyou County in Northern California.
Wang had been spotted in Oregon Saturday where charging papers claim he attempted to pawn a Louis Vuitton purse. However, he was not stopped until Northern California.
Wang is accused of murdering 37-year-old Kittaporn Saosawatsri of Bellevue and then setting fire to her apartment on March 31st. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office stated that Saosawatsri died of multiple stab wounds. Firefighters that came to put out the fire to Saosawatsri’s sixth floor Bellevue apartment discovered her body and recognized that her injuries were not from the fire. King County prosecutors describe Saosawatsri as “an unarmed and vulnerable woman.”
It is not clear what the connection between Wang and Saosawatsri was although court documents reveal that Wang owed multiple people thousands of dollars. Saosawatsri was tied to federal human trafficking and a prostitution investigation two years ago in Bellevue. That investigation included a raid on the Avalon Meydenbauer Apartments, the same building where Wang set the fire to Saosawatsri’s apartment. In that investigation, Thai national Unruean Aboulafia, was alleged to have forced women to work off immigration debts through prostitution. Aboulafia was sentenced in 2014 to two years in federal prison. The victim had a Thai passport and is believed to have worked as a prostitute from the apartment. According to people who knew Saosawatsri, it was known that she was working as an escort and advertised her services online.
Bellevue police identified Wang on Saturday afternoon April 4th as the suspect in the homicide. Police reviewed calls to Saosawatsri’s phone and identified Wang as the suspect. Surveillance video of the apartment where the homicide took place reveals a man, now identified as Wang, entering the building an hour before the fire alarm sounded. The video showed the man leaving the apartment building carrying a bag.
Wang was arrested wearing the same clothing that he had on in the apartment surveillance video.
Wang had no prior criminal history. He is currently held on $5 million bail.
Wang worked as a translator for a car dealership but that dealership claims that Wang left suddenly taking with him $18,000 and everything from his office at work. He also is wanted in small claims court for taking money from others. At least one case has him taking $5,000 for a car deal.
It is the first homicide in Bellevue this year and the first one under newly appointed Bellevue Police Chief Stephen Mylett. “The evidence that we have is strong and he will be brought to justice,” stated Mylett. The native of Texas was appointed Bellevue Police Chief in March.
Bellevue Police are working with other authorities in bringing Wang back to King County where he will be prosecuted. (end)
Jason Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.