Michigan police now have a suspect in custody for the murder of 33-year-old pro poker player Susie “Susie Q” Zhao.
On July 13, Zhao’s badly burned body was found in a parking lot near the Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, not far from Detroit.
Now, Detroit News reports Jeffrey Bernard Morris has been arrested and charged with first-degree, premeditated murder. The 60-year-old is reportedly a homeless convicted sex offender.
Oakland County Jail
White Lake Police Lt. Christopher Hild explained at a press conference that based on cell phone records, Morris and Zhao are believed to have met at a Waterford Township motel the night before her body was found. Zhao had stayed at the motel several times prior to July 12. The evidence against Morris has not been released.
Morris was charged with the crime while in a hospital. His health condition was not disclosed, but he is expected to be discharged to the Oakland County Jail. He was denied bond and is due in court for an August 18 probable cause conference.
Hild told reporters, “This is not the end of the investigation into Susie’s death, but the beginning of the pursuit of justice for her and her family.” He noted that authorities are still determining a motive, but do not believe her death is linked to her poker career.
Zhao, who had competed in tournaments like the ESPN World Series of Poker, had just moved back to Michigan to live with her mom. She had been living in L.A.