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Conover murder suspect dies in police chase

http://66.225.205.104/JR20090318.mp3

The Catawba County Sheriff says Chiew Chan Saevang fled to Wisconsin after killing the family of four last Thursday over an apparent drug theft. From there, he was en route to California when police closed in early this morning in Southwest Utah. 

Sheriff David Huffman says the suspect shot his girlfriend and himself before the car crashed. Huffman says the death leaves many unanswered questions.

"What we wanted to do was follow up on everything - the murders, the opium operation and other things," says Huffman. "And this won't give us an opportunity to do that."

During a press conference this morning, broadcast live on News14, Sheriff Huffman said Chiew Chan Saevang was a suspected opium smuggler and that some older children in the murdered family may have been involved in drug trafficking. Though, investigators may not learn more specifics because of the deaths. Sheriff Huffman does believe a drug theft was the motive for the murder of Lisa Phan, her two adult daughters and her 3-year old boy last week. The father of the family - who was not home at the time of the murders - faces additional questioning.

Despite the ongoing investigation, Huffman says the suspect's death gives the community some closure.

"We've had a counseling session yesterday, for our officers, for some folks in the communication center, for the ambulance personnel," says Huffman. "This is a crime that got to everybody."

The youngest victim in last week's murder was particularly troubling to officers who responded to the crime, says Sheriff's Chief Deputy Coy Reid. "It was not one of the most gory scenes you've ever scene, but with the young child and the women in there, it was rough on all of 'em. Especially with him with his little fingers still in the bowl, eating his dry cereal," says Reid.