New Info Helps Move 2009 Murder Investigation Forward; Police Seek Further Assistance

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Stock photo of four-door, white Chevrolet Caprice Classic. Matches description of a vehicle that was seen in the area on or around the day of the murder.

Recently, the Long Beach Police Department received a tip in the 2009 murder of 76-year-old Leam Sovanasy, that occurred in the 1400 block of Peterson Avenue, which provided investigators a description of a vehicle that was seen in the area on or around the day of the murder. The car is described as a four-door, white Chevrolet Caprice Classic. It is estimated to be an early 1990’s model (stock photo of a similar vehicle is attached), and Long Beach Police is asking the public’s assistance in identifying the vehicle that was seen in the area of 15th and Peterson in late January 2009.

On the morning of Saturday, January 31, 2009, at approximately 11:05 a.m., Leam Sovanasy was discovered by family members inside her home. When officers arrived on scene, they found the elderly victim had sustained multiple stab wounds to the upper torso and was pronounced deceased at the scene. A motive for the murder remains unknown.

Victim Sovanasy was the mother of seven children, grandmother of 20, and great-grandmother of six. The avid Los Angeles Lakers fan was a Cambodian immigrant who survived the Khmer Rouge regime, only to be violently murdered in her Long Beach home.

Detectives have been actively working this case since it occurred in January of 2009, however this latest information on the vehicle seen in the area around the time of the murder is the biggest lead to date.

On Tuesday, July 23, 2013, Long Beach Police Homicide detectives, with the assistance of Long Beach Search & Rescue, distributed flyers in and around the area of 14th Street and Peterson Avenue, hoping to generate new leads in the January 31, 2009 murder of 76-year-old Leam Sovanasy.

As a result of that operation, detectives have received an outpouring of support from the community, including new information about a person of interest.

Composite sketch of individual seen driving a car similar to one sought.

Composite sketch of individual seen driving a car similar to one sought.

Detectives have been provided a description of a person that has been seen driving a car similar to the one depicted in the stock photo above, (4-door white Chevrolet Caprice Classic), that was released on July 23rd. A sketch artist has created a composite sketch of this individual, based on the physical description given by a witness.

Detectives are hopeful that the community will come forward with information relating to the identity of this person, and/or information on the vehicle described above.

Anyone with information are urged to contact Long Beach Police Homicide Detectives Teryl Hubert or Detective Mark Bigel at (562) 570-7244. Anonymous tips may be submitted by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), texting TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or visiting www.lacrimestoppers.org.

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