By Suzanne Ma
The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Police on July 9 were investigating whether a woman found beaten to death in her car was killed in a botched extortion plot from her native China.
Chao Ru Xie was found slumped between the seats of her family’s vehicle in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn. Her husband reported unauthorized use of the car on July 1. It is unclear when the wife was last seen.
The husband told police the family received a call from China demanding money. Investigators have been unable to verify the information.
No one answered after repeated knocks on the door of Xie’s home in the Flatlands neighborhood of Brooklyn on July 9, though it appeared there were people inside.
The crime scene, more than three miles from Xie’s house, is a residential road with private homes on one side of the street and a tree-lined park on the other. The area was quiet, vastly different from earlier in the week, when police tape and cruisers surrounded the spot where Xie’s body was found.
Detectives were pulling phone records and interviewing business associates.
The victim moved from China about a decade ago, and police said she ran a type of homegrown lottery in Manhattan’s Chinatown.
A report in the World Journal, a Chinese-language newspaper serving Chinese populations in North America, said Xie and her family ran a kitchen supply company in Chinatown. Her husband, You Song Zhu, was a councilman at the American Fujanese Chamber of Commerce, a society that helps develop Fujanese-owned businesses in New York.
News of Xie’s murder was reported by the local Chinese-language press in New York and has since been making headlines on numerous Chinese-language websites and in newspapers across mainland China.
The medical examiner ruled Xie’s death a homicide, saying she had been killed by blunt force trauma to the head and skull. ♦