The brother of a 42-year-old New Orleans woman who was found shot to death inside the trunk of her car was arrested in connection with her death, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.
The New Orleans Police Department had been searching for Hoa Phong Nguyen, 37, before he was arrested as a fugitive in Houston on a warrant for second-degree murder.
“Through further investigation, detectives have positively identified Hoa Phong Nguyen — the brother of the victim — as the accused perpetrator in this incident and have obtained a warrant for his arrest on a charge of second-degree murder,” a New Orleans police press release stated.
Hoa is being held for being a fugitive and will make his first appearance in front of a judge on April 7, Harris County Jail records show.
On March 13, New Orleans Police began searching for Huong after her boss said she’d failed to show up for work and her family was unable to reach her, NOLA.com reports.
At 8 p.m. that evening, her body was “ultimately found in the trunk of her own vehicle,” about seven blocks from the home Huong shared with her mother and brother, according to her brother’s arrest warrant.
Earlier, police officials interviewed Hoa, who allegedly told investigators “he did not see his sister come home, but had heard the door open and close twice, a few minutes apart, and assumed it was her coming home,” the warrant stated.
In the course of the investigation, officials obtained surveillance footage and home-security video, which showed Huong’s vehicle being moved from her driveway to the location where her vehicle was found. Additional video captured footage of a man walking away from the vehicle in the early morning of March 13, which was shown to a family member.
“The family member identified the lone subject as Hoa Nguyen,” the warrant stated.
Huong’s friend Linda Cao told NOLA.com that the family was relieved to hear the news of the arrest.
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“I’m just glad this is done and taken care of,” Cao said. “This will allay the fears of her immediate family.”
A small funeral was planned due to the government’s restrictions on crowds intended to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Cao told the website.
“I want everyone to remember that she celebrated life,” Cao told nola.com, “and her life was taken so suddenly.”
Hoa is currently be held without bond. It was unclear whether he has obtained an attorney.
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