Police in the US are investigating the “mysterious” death of a professional poker player whose burnt body was found in a park.
Susie Zhao, 33, was last seen by her mother on 12 July and her body was found in a car park at Pontiac Lake Recreation Area in Oakland County, Michigan the following morning.
White Lake Township Police said it is investigating the “mysterious death”, while the FBI is also reportedly assisting officers.
Please see the attached press release reference an ongoing investigation. Anyone with information, please call Det./Lt. Hild at 248-698-4404 ext. 2381. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/8beDaEjKQ6
— WLTPD (@WhiteLakePolice) July 20, 2020
Police confirmed the body has been identified as Ms Zhao, adding that “the female subject” was “badly burned”.
The poker player, known as Susie Q on the circuit, had lived and competed in Los Angeles and Las Vegas but had recently moved back home to her parent’s house in Oakland County, local TV station WXYZ Detroit reported.
“She really was a excellent player,” Bart Hanson, a friend and poker rival told WXYZ.
“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.”
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During a police news conference, friends described Ms Zhao as a “free spirit in the truest sense”.
“She played by her own rules, followed her dreams,” they said.
“Everybody loved her. We don’t ever remember her falling out with anybody.”
Poker News reports that Ms Zhao took home tens of thousands of dollars from poker games, including $73,805 (£58,000) from a high stakes game in 2012.
Results from a postmortem examination have not been released yet.
Police want to speak to anyone who saw Ms Zhao between 11 and 13 July.