At dawn on April 9, 2010, Donglei (Kyral) Shi’s murdered body was found in a black plastic bag dumped close to Story Park. A coroner's report revealed that the 31-year-old woman had been strangled. More than a year-and-a-half later, a suspect has yet to be charged with the crime. The Los Angeles County homicide detective covering the case said that persons of interest have been identified and the case is moving forward. But for the victim's father, George Shi, the legal system is moving too slowly. He has distributed fliers around Story Park, offering a reward of $200,000 as an incentive. Shi shared how he believes Alhambra residents can help bring his daughter's killers to justice.
Can you tell me about your daughter, and how she was killed?
My daughter was a very kind person; she was very respectful toward her parents and caring of her brother. She worked as a graphic designer and had many friends; she didn’t make a bad friend. My daughter, like us, always treated people with kindness. So I think she could not have foreseen that somebody would kill her so cruelly like this. Even if she had noticed something wrong, she would not think her life was threatened. But she met one or two bad people, and was tricked and killed. She was murdered, murdered by someone close to her. Everyone knows that.
How can Alhambra residents help find your daughter’s murderer?
It’s clear that we are lacking evidence and witnesses — that’s why we cannot catch the murderer. Our purpose for posting this flier is to get people who know anything about the case to provide evidence or come forward as witnesses, so then we can achieve justice for my daughter.
We want to find witnesses who saw her on April 8 or 9, after 5:30 when she got off from work. She was killed on the 9th, but we think the murderer might have wanted to kill her on April 8, but didn’t succeed. Maybe it’s because there were people or police around them. She met someone on April 9, and she also met someone on April 8 — I think there was a relation. She was killed on April 9, and her body was then dumped at Story Park. Even though she was last seen at her office at REM Eyeware in Sun Valley, the meeting place was probably somewhere in Alhambra, because her body was found in Alhambra in the early morning.
By listening to you and reading other reports, I feel you have a couple of people in mind who you think are responsible?
We cannot say who’s the murderer, but police have persons of interests. We are satisfied that they have been doing their job. But it is confidential to what extent they have progressed or how much evidence they’ve gotten; we don’t know either. They don’t want to tell us and have us telling others the information to hinder their investigation.
The Chinese papers have reported that Donglei bought two insurances, and her beneficiary was recently changed by her ex-boyfriend Daniel Duong, who was also Donglei’s ex-work partner. How do you respond to that?
Yes, all changed by him to him solely. He (Duong) is a person of interest, too. The insurance could be the reason to kill her; how abominable!
How can Alhambra Source readers help?
We hope the public can help by providing information for the investigation. There must be someone who has seen something.
The United States has so many homicide cases now, but the rate of solving these cases is so low. No doubt this is an encouragement for murderers to break the law for benefits and money, because there is less risk of being caught.
This sort of case is solved very easily in China, where every kind of means to catch, or even to question, the murderer are used. It will all be very firm, very fast, and very effective. But it’s a very difficult thing to get a murderer convicted in the United States, it requires a lot of evidence.
I heard from a criminal lawyer that there were hundreds of homicide cases in Los Angeles last year, but only few were solved and the amount of cases just accumulated year after year. In fact, many people who know about this kind of thing are living in fear. This is a basic human right to live safely; if a society cannot protect the most basic rights, what does this say about democracy, fairness or development?
The bottom line is that more than a year or almost two years after my daughter was killed, I feel that the United States is not using enough force to apprehend and punish the murderers; the legal system is injust.
George Shi is offering $200,000 in reward money for information regarding his daughter's death. Donglei Shi was 5’6" tall and slim. Anyone with information is asked to contact George Shi at (626) 226-9178, or [email protected] The informant’s name can be kept anonymous.
Interview was translated from Mandarin, edited, and condensed.