Murderer kills pregnant girlfriend in desert, leaves hate-group clues to cover tracks
10/06/2017 5:19 pm PDT
A desolate stretch of Nevada desert is the setting of a tragic murder mystery. It's the last resting place of a young mother who unknowingly fell victim to an evil plot filled with love, jealousy and deception.
Alice Sin was a 21-year-old mother with a warm spirit captured in dozens of family photographs.
"She loved her parents, she so appreciated their bringing her to the United States and the opportunities that that gave her," said Contra County, California Prosecutor Mary Knox.
Alice, a native of China, lived in the city of Pinole, just northeast of San Francisco.
She raises her infant son while taking classes at a community college.
"Alice was poised on the brink of really finding her power. Becoming a mother was a truly significant event in her life," said Knox.
Prosecutor Mary Knox feels as though she knows Alice Sin personally. But the grim reality is she's working Alice's murder case.
Along a stretch of the dusty Nevada desert east of Reno, two mining inspectors reportedly discover a woman's mutilated and bullet-ridden corpse half buried in the sand.
"She was brutally murdered and then her body was defaced," said former Pinole Police Det. Timothy Cauwels. "There were obvious badger-eating marks on her body where she had been clawed open from the animals that were out there."
Dental records later identify the victim as Alice Sin. At the scene, her killer can only be identified by a few cryptic clues.
"There was Monopoly money that had been stuffed into Alice's pockets and also kind of just spread through the badger den and in the dirt," said Det. Cauwels.
Written on that play money, the acronyms "NOW" and "ZOG."
"The initials stand for 'New World Order' and 'Zionist Occupied Government,' which are white-supremacist groups," said Prosecutor Mary Knox.
How did this innocent young mother Alice end up in this strange and horrifying condition in the desert some 200 miles from her home? Was Alice's murder some type of strange hate crime?
"When you have someone that takes their time to mutilate a body afterwards, I believe it's a display of a lot of hatred for that person," said Det. Cauwels.
Detectives soon dig into Alice's personal life looking for answers. There they find Alice's live-in boyfriend, 28-year-old tech consultant Raymond Wong, the father of her child.
"Raymond was a very smart college graduate, owned a couple homes, just did very well for himself," said Det. Cauwels.
"His parents had emigrated here from Hong Kong, he began dating her while she was a student at UC Davis," said Mary Knox.
But Alice's college love affair was soon headed for a bitter lesson, and some fierce competition.
Cops say Raymond cheated on her with his on-again/off-again girlfriend: 25-year-old Jessica Tang.
"Jessica and Alice hate each other. They were aware of each other," said Det. Cauwels.
Adding even more drama to an already torrid love triangle, both women are pregnant with Raymond's babies.
"Alice wrote Raymond a letter saying that she knew he was seeing Jessica again, and that Alice and Raymond needed to work out a relationship so that they could raise their baby together," said Knox.
That would never happen. Late November in Pinole, just days before Thanksgiving 1999, Raymond calls police, telling them Alice is missing.
But as detectives comb the city looking for the young mom, they become suspicious.
"As her friends had described, she loved her child. She would have never just up and left and left the child with Raymond," said Cauwels.
Cops soon discover Alice's car left abandoned in a local shopping center parking lot. And shockingly, a $2-million life insurance policy Alice applied for, naming Raymond as her beneficiary.
Then there's the other woman, Jessica Tang, whom investigators say moved in with Raymond only days after Alice goes missing.
"Alice's clothing was moved from their bedroom," said Prosecutor Mary Knox. "It was packaged up in garbage bags that were in the garage."
Detectives wonder: Does Raymond know more about Alice's disappearance than he's letting on? He says no, and agrees to a polygraph test to prove it.
"Raymond put himself through a polygraph, which he failed horribly," said Det. Timothy Cauwels. "I think it came back as, inconclusive but that he had lied during certain parts of it."
But cops know a failed polygraph is not enough to arrest Raymond Wong, now a prime suspect. It takes evidence -- and patience.
Just two months after questioning Raymond, police find Alice's decomposed body in the Nevada desert. An autopsy confirms the heartbreaking reality: Alice was pregnant with Raymond's second child. Then, gruesome details of her death make cops even more suspicious about who viciously killed her.
"Her uterus had been removed, which was important as Alice was four months pregnant at the time that she was killed. The baby had been taken out of her body. Very sick and disgusting," said Det. Cauwels.
Now armed with a warrant to search Raymond's home, detectives make a disturbing discovery.
"There were literally thousands of hours of snuff videos recovered from Raymond Wong's computer that depicted women being killed and brutalized, tortured and sexually assaulted," said Mary Knox.
Some images involved children.
"Purely sadistic," said Knox. "He enjoyed inflicting pain. He enjoyed seeing other people inflict pain to others."
Prosecutors are able to arrest and lock up Raymond Wong on child-pornography charges. But with no direct physical evidence tying him to Alice Sin's brutal death, they hit a roadblock in the murder case.
"This case was challenging in that it depended on thousands of very small pieces of circumstantial evidence to create the whole picture," said Knox.
And the picture was about to blur. Before cops could nab their killer, Raymond Wong, now released from prison, escapes felony violations of state sex-offender registration laws, and quickly disappears.
"He fled the country to China," said Knox. "He was in China for three and a half years."
"He was going to beat the case and he was going to get out and be a free man," said Det. Cauwels.
Almost a decade passes. Alice's savage murder goes unpunished. But now, cold-case detectives could be on the verge of catching a major break, all thanks to Raymond's very own slip-up.
"He had approached that CIA and the FBI in Beijing offering to work as a spy for the United States," said Det. Cauwels.
"She had had acid thrown on her face, her hair had been scalped. Her body had been disposed of over an animal badger den," said Pinone Police Det. Timothy Cauwels.
Detectives have a cold case on their hands but it's about to heat up.
"I think I was sitting at home and I got a phone call from work, from dispatch and they said 'Hey, the FBI is on the phone and they think that they have Raymond Wong in custody at SFO,' and I was like 'Whoop! I'll be right in.'"
The elusive Wong had been nabbed on a fake passport at the San Francisco airport. Turns out the brazen killer had schemed an elaborate cover-up to work as an international double spy and return to the United States.
"He had approached the CIA and the FBI in Beijing offering to work as a spy for the United States," said Contra Costa County, Calif. Prosecutor Mary Knox. "They sort of hoodwinked Raymond and told him 'Oh, we'd love to work with you.'"
"As he was coming through Customs, basically trying to say that he was contacted by the Chinese Secret Service, he wanted to work as a double agent for the United States, but he had to prove he could come in and out of the U.S. freely," said Det. Cauwels.
With only so much time before Raymond's free again, detectives need to move fast to secure a murder case. In a stealthy move, Det. Cauwels reaches out to the other woman in Raymond's life: Jessica Tang. And now, nearly a dozen years after Alice's death, cops desperately need her to talk.
"It was one of the hardest interviews I had ever had in my almost 14-year career as a police officer," said Det. Cauwels. "And she didn't have Raymond in her life anymore, which was key for the interview."
Investigators could not release Jessica's actual interview video to Crime Watch Daily. But Det. Cauwels says he grilled the woman, who was Wong's other lover at the time, over many days. Finally, she breaks and begins to tell what happened to Alice on that autumn day in 1999.
"He drove her and Alice up to the middle of the desert in Churchill County, Nevada," said Det. Cauwels.
Amazingly, cops learn Raymond got both women into the car by convincing each girlfriend they were going to take the other one out.
"The plan was hatched for Raymond to tell Alice that they were going to take Jessica up to the desert and kill her, but the actual plan was to murder Alice," said Det. Cauwels.
Jessica really knew what was about to go down.
"During the car ride, she basically said she sat in back, that Raymond and Alice argued almost the entire time up to Nevada," said Det. Cauwels.
Along the way, police say Raymond pulled into a rest stop. Witnesses would later confirm seeing the threesome.
"The people who worked at the rest stop identified both Raymond and Alice as being there, and identified another Asian woman sitting in the car, but they couldn't get a good look at her," said Det. Cauwels.
Raymond later drives to a secluded spot off the road and parks. Jessica says he and Alice get out of the car, and they're arguing.
"She said Raymond told her to stay in the car, that Raymond and Alice went to the back and then she heard the gunshots and she saw the body fall," said Det. Cauwels.
Raymond then forces Jessica out of the back seat.
"He puts the gun in her hands, says 'You have to shoot her too,' so she says that she just turned her head and she shot once, and she didn't want Raymond to kill her for refusing, so she did it," said Det. Cauwels.
Jessica says she gets back into the car. But Raymond does not. Police believe that's when Raymond callously acts out his snuff fantasies, mutilating the body.
"Purely sadistic. He enjoyed inflicting pain," said Prosecutor Mary Knox.
And then he left fake clues.
"She described him throwing papers around the body," said Det. Cauwels.
It was the Monopoly money found around Alice with white-supremacist initials, apparently only placed as part of Raymond's scheme to throw police off his trail.
Detectives later learn that Raymond sent a bogus message to the news media to try and make it look like a hate group killed Alice.
"An email was sent to all of the San Francisco Bay Area news groups from the Aryan Knights claiming responsibility for Alice's murder," said Mary Knox.
"They were able to track the IP address back to the internet cafe in Calgary," said Det. Cauwels.
Investigators discover Raymond was there on business at the time. Police find other compelling evidence on Raymond's home computer.
"He was looking for driving directions to the Nevada desert," said Knox. "He was calling different gun stores. And he was actively researching two white supremacist organizations."
"He's a monster," Det. Cauwels said. "He's kind of pure evil hidden behind the guise of, of a normal person."
Jessica's confession about what happened that gruesome night are the critical link cops needed most.
Investigators finally can put Raymond Wong in handcuffs.
"I drove him out to county jail, halfway out there he said 'Hey, you know when all this is over and I'm out, you know, we should go get a beer together,' and I said 'No, I don't think I'd like to hang out with you.'"
Prosecutors build their case against Raymond. As for Jessica Tang...
"She ultimately pled guilty to being a conspirator after the fact. Given some very significant cardiac issues that she has, she was placed on five years of felony probation," said Mary Knox.
Her testimony sealed the fate of Raymond Wong.
"The jury convicted him of first-degree murder," said Mary Knox. "He was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison."
"Raymond's exactly where he deserves to be, behind bars to where he can't hurt another woman again," said Det. Cauwels.
A bittersweet justice for the young mother Alice Sin, unaware of the nature of the monster she had loved.
"This tremendous opportunity that was in front of Alice to have really I think what would have been an incredible life, just taken for such senseless reasons," said Prosecutor Mary Knox.
Update June 7, 2018:
Raymond Wong recently appealed his conviction. That appeal was denied.