Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Wisconsin man charged with murdering and dismembering man from Saint Paul

Wisconsin man charged with murdering and dismembering man from Saint Paul, Yesterday, Kou Thao, 26, of Wausau Wisconsin appeared in court and was charged on multiple counts, including first-degree intentional homicide, hiding a corpse, and possession of a firearm as a felon. The victim in this case was Tong Pao Hang, 58, of Saint Paul.

Hang's family members had reported to police that he was missing on April 8. A missing persons report was filed on April 12.

Kou Thao's brother in law, Yeh Lor, told Wausau police that on April 17th, he was standing outside of the house, smoking a cigarette when he heard a gun shot from the basement of the home. Lor went into the home, (located at 402 Chicago Avenue,) and he found Tong Pao Hang, dead on the floor in a pool of blood. Hang had been shot between the eyes. Thao proceeded to wrap the body in a tarp and load it into the trunk of his car. Lor admits that he helped his brother in law to dispose of the body, but says that he did so because he was scared of Thao, and believed that he too would be murdered if he didn't help Thao.

After receiving this report from Lor, Wausau police worked in tandem with other local police departments to find Thao, who was hiding out at a home in Milwaukee, located at 228 North 38th Street. Police arrived at this home on Thursday, and saw Thao's vehicle parked out front. When Thao saw the police at the front door, he fled out the back, but officers caught up to him and he was promptly arrested. In the ensuing search of the home, police found dismembered body parts of the victim that had been hidden under cushions in the basement, as well as the knife used for dismemberment and the tarp in which the body had been wrapped. Hang's dismembered head was found in a bucket in the trunk of Thao's car.

Since the murder appeared in one area, and the dismemberment occurred somewhere else, this case is unusual because there are crime scenes in two different counties, Wausau and Marathon.

When Mr. Thao was taken into custody, his girlfriend was also arrested, but she has since been released.

District Attorney Theresa Wetzsteon has not commented on a possible motive as of yet. Apparently Tong Pao Hang was in Wisconsin at the time of the shooting because he was visiting family members. He was friends with Kou Thao's aunt, and this is how he came to be in the basement of the Wausau home, drinking with Mr. Thao.

Thao's bail has been set at 1 million dollars. The amount was requested not just because of the heinous nature of the crime, but also because the defendant is a former felon who is known to be a flight risk. Thao has been convicted of three other charges in the past five years, ranging from drugs, to violent attacks, to theft. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for May 1st. If found guilty, Mr. Thao will face life in prison.

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