WESTMINSTER, Calif. – Two people have been arrested in connection with the April stabbing deaths of a Vietnamese fortuneteller and her daughter, police said.
One person was taken into custody in Orange County and the other was arrested in North Carolina, authorities said Thursday. Their identities were not immediately released and police planned a news conference Friday afternoon to divulge more details.
The Orange County Register identified the suspects in its Friday edition as 41-year-old Tanya Jaime Nelson and Philipe Zamora, who was being held at the Halifax County Jail in North Carolina. Nelson also goes by the name Phuong Thao Nguyen, the paper said.
Ha Jade Smith (search), 52, and her daughter, 23-year-old Anita Nhi Vo (search), were found stabbed to death April 21. Smith, known as Miss Ha in the local Vietnamese community, did card and palm readings from an office at a strip mall in Midway City. Her daughter was a student at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa.
Smith was known nationally among Vietnamese-Americans as a skilled fortuneteller and had clients from as far away as New York.
After police received few leads, they revealed that white paint had been poured over the head and hands of the victims.
Police said Smith was robbed and her house burglarized in separate incidents in 2001 but those crimes, which remain unsolved, do not appear related to the murders.
Police began looking at Nelson after she flew to California from North Carolina on Memorial Day weekend using an assumed name, the Register reported.