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The brother of a missing New Orleans woman who was found shot to death in her car trunk has been arrested in connection with the slaying.
Hoa Phong Nguyen, 37, has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of his sister Huong Nguyen, whose body turned up in the trunk of her Toyota Camry in the city’s east side on March 13, according to NOLA.com. He was arrested in Houston, Texas on Saturday, online jail records indicate.
New Orleans investigators had secured a warrant for the man's arrest earlier in the day.
A motive hasn’t been disclosed in the woman's slaying, according to WWL-TV. New Orleans police have not yet specified how they connected the woman’s sibling to her murder.
Huong Nguyen, 42, was first reported missing on March 13 after she did not show up for work.
She was last seen leaving her workplace two days earlier, NOLA.com reported. In the Facebook group, “The search for Huong Nguyen,” another friend claimed to have last received a text message from Huong around 8:30 p.m. on March 11.
Police later found the missing woman’s silver Toyota, which had been spotted by a neighbor about seven blocks from her family’s home, according to NOLA.com. Inside, investigators say they found Huong’s body. Prior to Hoa’s arrest, investigators had reviewed video security footage from a number of nearby properties, the newspaper reported.
Friends and family of the slain woman applauded the arrest.
“I’m just glad this is done and taken care of,” Linda Cao, a former college roommate and high school friend, told NOLA.com. “This will allay the fears of her immediate family.”
Cao previously said that cell phone records indicated that her pal went to the gym after she had been last seen leaving work.
“Hopefully, the investigation… can help her rest in peace,” Cao told NOLA.com. “I want everyone to remember that she celebrated life, and her life was taken so suddenly.”
The woman hoped to one day get married and have a family, Cao said.
She worked as an advertising sales representative at a local newspaper and attended Marion Abramson High School in New Orleans East, NOLA.com reported.
A funeral for the 42-year-old woman was held on Friday. The services were sparsely attended due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to local media. The woman’s now-accused brother was reportedly not in attendance.
“The family is dealing with this as best they can,” family member and New Orleans City Councilwoman Cyndi Nguyen told NOLA.com prior to the arrest of the woman’s brother. “We would love to find what happened to her to provide some closure to her for the family.”
It’s unclear when Hoa will be extradited from Texas back to New Orleans. He is being held at a Harris County jail in Houston and is scheduled to appear in court on April 7, according to online jail records. If convicted of murder in his sister’s slaying, Hoa could face a mandatory life prison sentence in Louisiana.
Oxygen.com wasn’t able to immediately reach the Nguyen family for comment on Monday.
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