Susie Zhao: Charred body of poker star touted as 'one of the best in LA' found in remote Michigan parking lot
OAKLAND, MICHIGAN: The charred body of a professional poker player named Susie Zhao has been discovered in a remote Michigan parking lot. The 33-year-old was a successful poker player who was described as a 'natural talent' in the poker circuit. She was also known as 'Susie Q' and would often win cash prizes of tens of thousands of dollars.
Susie Zhao has reportedly made approximately $224,671 during the course of her poker career. Her friends spoke to WXYZ and said that she had recently moved back home to live with her parents and was last seen by her mother on July 12 at 5:30 pm. Her friends had also revealed that she had moved back home in order to "confront challenges in her personal life."
The White Lake Township Police Department said her badly burned body was discovered by a local resident on July 13 in the morning next to the Pontiac Lake Recreation Area. The police believe it is likely that she passed away sometime after 11:45 pm the previous night and think that her high stakes job could be a motive, Daily Mail reveals.
Detective Chris Hild from the White Lake Township Police said, "You have to determine whether or not this is a coverup, or this may be some sort of retaliatory incident because of her profession." The FBI has also joined in to investigate her death. Her friends and family, however, do not believe that she had any enemies. As reported by The Oakland Press, police identified her remains this week.
The official cause of death has not yet been revealed. A motive for her death is also currently unclear. As per PokerNews.com, one of the prizes that she had won included more than $73,000 at the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event.
A friend of Susie's, Meredith Rogowski, said at a press conference and said, "She was the freest spirit, in the truest sense. She played by her own rules. She followed her dreams, absolutely brilliant." Her fellow poker players had described Susie as an 'excellent player' and are said to be 'heartbroken' at the news of her death. A fellow competitor and friend, Bart Hanson, told WXYZ, "She really was an excellent player. One of the best in LA at the level we played at the Commerce Casino and it’s the biggest poker room in the world."
"I never would have thought anyone would’ve wanted to do anything to her. She had such a great attitude and so much spirit. It's just awful," Hanson added. He also said that he feels its unlikely that her poker career had anything to do with her death.
Her former roommate, Yuval Bronshtein, said, "It's hard to picture her having enemies." A fellow poker player, Clayton Fletcher shared, "She was one of the bubbliest and most vivacious opponents I've ever had."
"She was a very strong player who also liked to have fun at the table. Do you remember her from our Day Five in 2015, @jeffplatt? I'm heartbroken reading this. RIP Suzie," Bronshtein continued.
Cops urge anyone who may have seen Zhao between July 11 and 13 or has any information related to the investigation to call Detective Lt. Christopher Hild at 248-698-4404, ext. 2381.