Michigan police now have a suspect in custody for the death of ‘World Poker Tour’ star Susie Zhao. Susie Zhao, aged 33, was found badly burnt in a parking lot close to the Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, not far from Detroit.
According to the Detroit News, the suspect, Jeffery Bernand Morris, was found guilty by the police force in the state with first-degree premeditated murder. The Michigan police force stated earlier this week that Zhao and Morris met at a hotel in Waterford Township, Michigan on July 12, the night she passed away. It’s not certain if Morris and Zhao knew or had any connection together.
White Lake Police Lt. Christopher Hild stated during a press conference revealed that Morris and Zhao had some conversation the night her body was found dead. It is important to note that Zhao had been in the hotel a lot of times before July 12. The evidence against Morris hasn’t been unconfined yet.
Morris – who is a registered sex offender with a conviction for rape back in 1989 – was charged with the murder of Zhao while in a hospital; the cause of his health condition hasn’t been disclosed yet to the public. The suspect will be discharged from the hospital to the Oakland County Jail.
The Michigan Police department arrested the Pontiac man on Friday after search warrants were obtained. Detectives and an FBI Task Force searched for Morris’ vehicle and then stopped it in the area of I-275 and Michigan Avenue. However, the name of the arrestee wasn’t revealed.
Zhao is one of the most popular female poker players to compete at the WPT; she also participated in a Tour event as recently as last August.
The WLTPD stated this in its official Twitter handle: “Please see the attached press release reference an ongoing investigation. Anyone with information, please call Det./Lt. Hild at 248-698-4404 ext. 2381. Thank you.”
Please see the attached press release reference an ongoing investigation. Anyone with information, please call Det./Lt. Hild at 248-698-4404 ext. 2381. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/8beDaEjKQ6
— WLTPD (@WhiteLakePolice) July 20, 2020
Following the tragic death, Zhao’s body was found on July 13. The local police force in Michigan showed Zhao’s identity to the public hoping to unravel the mysterious death.
A detective at the White Lake Police Lt. Department (WLPTD) said: “We started looking into her past history over the course of the last few days before her death. At that point, we determined that we wanted the assistance of the FBI to assist us with some of their technology.” He then asked for the assistance of the public saying: “Even if you think it’s something minute, we’ll take any calls.”
“We’re looking into every lead, every possibility,” continued the detective. “Obviously when you’re dealing with that type of profession you have the potential of owing debt, and those are things that we’re looking into.”
At the press conference, close acquaintances and colleagues made goodwill messages and stated how gentle, intelligent, and positive she was. Even fellow poker professional Bart Hanson said – through a tweet – Zhao had a gentle soul.
It is also important to know that Zhao lived a transient life, while she lived in California. She also stayed in Florida before she then moved to Michigan, according to Michigan police.
Zhao is a winner and made remarkable runs in the 2012 WSOP event where she earned $73,805. Her total earnings from poker totaled $224,671, according to GlobalPokerIndex.com.
Watch the interview below: