Was Susie Zhao’s death gambling-related? That’s what police are investigating after the professional poker player’s body was found charred in a remote Michigan park on the outskirts of Detroit earlier this month.
"You have to determine whether or not this is a coverup, or this may be some sort of retaliatory incident because of her profession," White Lake Township Police’s Detective Chris Hild told WIFR.
Zhao was last seen by her mom in the evening of July 12, authorities said. Her body was discovered the following morning in the parking lot of Pontiac Lake Recreation Area. She was 33.
"Everybody loved her," her friend Michelle Lagrou said. "Nobody ever remembers her fighting with anybody ever, no conflict, no drama."
Zhao started playing poker on a team growing up in Troy. She began playing high-stakes games after pursuing her degree at Northwestern University, and was known on the professional poker circuit as Susie Q, scooping as much as $16,000 in one hand.
She often posted on social media about being a prominent woman in a male-dominated field.
She lived in Los Angeles until recently moving back to Michigan.
Investigators are still unsure why she may have been killed and are asking anyone who may have spoken to her in the hours before her death to come forward.