Pro poker player killed, set on fire in Mich.

Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 9:22 AM CDT
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WHITE LAKE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ/CNN) - Police asked the public for help in a grisly killing of a female pro poker player in Michigan.

Susie Zhao's body was found burned earlier this month. She was 33 years old.

Investigators are not sure yet why she was killed.

"Everybody loved her," said friend Michelle Lagrou. "Nobody ever remembers her fighting with anybody ever, no conflict, no drama."

She was known on the professional poker circuit as Susie Q. Her friends in Michigan say she started playing poker as a team when they grew up in Troy.

After college, she played in the big games. In one hand in 2017 in Los Angeles, she would scoop $16,000.

"(She) was a free spirit in the truest sense," said friend Meredith Rogowski. "She played by her own rules. She followed her dreams, absolutely brilliant."

Police say Zhao's killing may be connected to her gambling in other states or to somebody locally she met with recently.

She came to Michigan June 9 from Los Angeles.

"You have to determine whether or not this is a coverup, or this may be some sort of retaliatory incident because of her profession," said Detective Chris Hild, White Lake Township Police.

Her friends say she kept details about our personal life private from them, but she was there for them during special times.

"I will remember that date, because that was the night that I got engaged, and then it was nice to have her there," said friend Kinga Wierzbicka.

Her body was found burned in the Pontiac Lake recreation area on the morning of July 13.

Police say she was last seen by her mother the night before at 5:30, so it's a narrow window.

Police are asking witnesses to come forward.

"We still are looking for anybody that may have seen or talked to Susie between Sunday at about 5:30 p.m. and early hours of Monday morning," said an unnamed official.

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