Chyong Jen Tsai, 76
Chyong Jen Tsai, a 76-year-old Asian woman, was pronounced dead on Tuesday, April 9, after she was found unconscious in the 300 block of of East Forest Avenue in Arcadia, according to Los Angeles County medical examiner-coroner records.
Arcadia police went to Tsai's home after receiving a call about a person down, and found her lying in her backyard not breathing, according to a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department news release.
Tsai and her husband, who was traveling out of country, are building a granny flat on their property, the Pasadena Star-Times reported. It was one of the construction workers who found her lying in her backyard, not breathing, shortly before 7 a.m.
She was pronounced dead at the scene at 7 a.m., but investigators say it's not clear how she died, The Times reported.
“There is blood around the crime scene, but no trauma we can determine at this time,” sheriff’s Sgt. Richard Biddle told reporters at the scene. “We’re going to have to wait for the coroner to determine the cause of death.”
Investigators discovered evidence that Tsai was a homicide victim, Biddle said, but he did not specify what was found.
“There’s evidence in the yard and in the house that indicates that items were stolen and she is a murder victim,” he said.
One of the missing items is Tsai’s white 2005 Lexus RX 300, with a California license plate number of 5LOG473. Investigators believe the car was stolen around the time Tsai was killed, which they believe was sometime between late Monday evening and early Tuesday morning, the Star-Times reported.
On March 19, burglars broke into Tsai's backyard and stole construction tools, the Star-Times reported. Biddle said investigators don't have a motive for the killing but they are looking at whether the burglary is connected to the homicide, the Star-News reported.
Neighbors and the construction workers described Tsai as a sweet, gregarious person who was often seen with her dog, a cocker spaniel, who was unharmed in the attack, KTLA reported.
One of the construction workers, Juan Benitez, told ABC7 that Tsai had asked the police for more patrols in her neighborhood after the burglary.
"She always, every day, had coffee for us, fruit, cake," Benitez said. "She was a nice lady, she was such a nice lady."
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.