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Bich Truong, Lisa Nguyen, L.A. Homicides No. 7, No. 8: Harbor City Man Strangles Wife, Daughter to Death Before Committing Suicide

The late Lisa Nguyen
The late Lisa Nguyen
Robyn Do via gofundme.com

A tragic murder-suicide on January 9 left two Vietnamese women -- 56-year-old Bich Truong and her daughter, 27-year-old Lisa Nguyen -- dead in their Harbor City home on the 25200 block of Petroleum Avenue.

After relatives notified the LAPD of a goodbye note left by the victims' husband and father, 60-year-old Bach Nguyen, the same suspect was found to have jumped to his death of a 12-story retirement home some five miles south.

The L.A. County Coroner's report showed the two women had died from "probable asphyxia ... based on petechiae [small red or purple spots] in both eyes and eyelids."

From the Weekly's day-after coverage:

CBS Los Angeles talked to some of Nguyen's neighbors; they indicated the middle-aged man had been diagnosed with terminal cancer -- he just went to the doctor last Monday -- and had recently been trying to sell his house.

"The way it looked, [he felt] like nobody was going to [be able to] take care of his family," said one neighbor.

Nguyen was familiar with the retirement home because it was one of his clients as a pharmaceutical salesman.

Lisa Nguyen turned out to be a well-respected local artist/graphic designer with strong ties to her alma mater, CSU Long Beach. Of four tributes reported by the Los Angeles Times, one on February 8 (described as a fashion-forward dance party in Silver Lake) raised almost $500 for the Lisa Nguyen Memorial Scholarship. The flyer:

The CSULB campus newspaper wrote: "The Werby Gallery contains a memorial exhibition ... of art dedicated to the memory of Nguyen in a display of digital, ink, watercolor and mixed media artwork."
The CSULB campus newspaper wrote: "The Werby Gallery contains a memorial exhibition ... of art dedicated to the memory of Nguyen in a display of digital, ink, watercolor and mixed media artwork."
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The CSULB campus newspaper wrote: "The Werby Gallery contains a memorial exhibition ... of art dedicated to the memory of Nguyen in a display of digital, ink, watercolor and mixed media artwork."
The CSULB campus newspaper wrote: "The Werby Gallery contains a memorial exhibition ... of art dedicated to the memory of Nguyen in a display of digital, ink, watercolor and mixed media artwork."
Stefan Agregado for the Daily 49er

Other tributes included a garage-punk concert "featuring music from some of Lisa's friends and favorite bands" and an on-campus art show celebrating "the unstoppable, sparkling, vivacious, and very dear friend we were all so lucky to have."

In response to "Lisa Nguyen, Long Beach Graphic Designer, Murdered By Suicidal Father At 27 Years Old," a piece we wrote about the young victim directly following her mysterious death, CSULB professor Robin Richesson wrote that Lisa "adored clothing and knew a great deal about fashion, and about art, and design." Richesson continued:

"She really lived her life in every moment. She was completely approachable, and forgiving, and really urged her friends to get of their butts and do things. She was extremely social, and there was never a dull moment with Lisa. I expected to watch her grow, and follow her progress from London, where she was planning to move. A pint-sized powerhouse, she will never be forgotten."

Another commenter wrote: "Your taste in music was glorious, and your charm and silliness were unforgettable."

A donation website initially set up to cover Nguyen's burial costs has now raised over $2,000 for her memorial scholarship fund.

Note: Due to technical difficulties, the LA Weekly's archive of all homicides within Los Angeles city limits was discontinued near the end of last year. As of April 4, we have been rolling out the 2011 homicides, one by one, and will continue until our "Murder was the Case" archive is up to date. Thanks for your patience.

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]


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