The White Lake Township police mentioned that a transient sex offender charged in the slaying of pro poker player Suzie Zhao apparently met her at a motel the night before her badly burned body was found on Wednesday. The 60 years-old offender, Jeffery Bernard Morris‘s last address was in Pontaic, and he was formally charged on Tuesday from the hospital he was admitted at. The body of 33-years-old Zhao was discovered near a trail head at the Pontiac Lake Recreation area on 13 July. At a news conference, the police revealed that they are yet to find the motive behind the slaying of Zhao.
Morris has been charged with first-degree, premeditated murder in the slaying of Zhao. Described as a “free spirit” by friends, Zhao, had recently returned to Michigan from California to live with her mother in Waterford Township. Detective Lt. Chris 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,”. The police said Morris is a homeless, convicted sex offender and is believed to have met up with Zhao the night before her body was found in a parking area at Maceday Lake and Cross roads in White Lake Township. According to cell phone records reviewed by local and federal investigators, the pair are believed to have met at a Waterford Township motel.
Morris was arrested last Friday based on unspecified evidence collected by investigators, said detective Hild. They have learned that Zhao had stayed at the same motel on several occasions prior to last month. Her relationship with Morris remains under investigation. The detective said Morris is not a suspect in any other incidents in the township but said it wouldn’t surprise him if he was of interest to other jurisdictions.
Since Morris was hospitalized, he declined to discuss details, citing federal privacy law, but Morris’s situation was not believed to be life-threatening and he is expected to be discharged soon and lodged in the Oakland County Jail, said detective Hild. Police are still interviewing people who may have information in the death. Investigators have no evidence that Zhao’s death had anything to do with her gambling or card-playing, said Hild. Clarkston District Judge Kelley Kostin denied bond Friday due to the severity of the crimes and set a probable cause for Aug 18. For more updates on poker industry, keep reading GutshotMagazine.com and stay tuned !