As if the brutal stabbing of a young girl wasn’t appalling enough, the senseless murder of 12-year-old Jessica Nguyen of Gaithersburg, MD, also involved polygamy and an alleged immigration scam.
On May 31, 2011, Nguyen’s body was found in the basement of her home by her teenage sister. She had been stabbed more than 40 times.
Nguyen’s estranged stepfather, David Rich Hang, 42, was arrested last Tuesday night and charged with first-degree murder.
The sheath of a small sword or knife was left near the girl’s body, and the DNA found on it matched a sample collected from Hang’s cheek. Boot prints found at the house also matched his shoe size and the brand of boots issued by his workplace to its employees.
Furthermore, Hang had taken the afternoon off of work the day of the incident, supposedly to take his new wife to her doctor’s appointment. However, the woman showed up for her visit, but the hospital staff did not see her husband with her.
Cell phone records also placed him in the neighborhood at the time of the crime.
The investigation that warranted his arrest then brought to light unusual details of Hang’s personal life. He moved frequently from state to state, and also recently changed his name. Hang had lived in Massachusetts, Nevada, Texas, and Washington in recent years. According to prosecutor Stephen Chaikin, it appeared that Hang was married to more than one woman.
Hang married Nguyen’s mother, Khen Kim Vu, in 2006 and was allegedly paid by Vu’s family for the arrangement to help her earn U.S. citizenship. Said police spokeswoman Officer Janelle Smith, “He was possibly being paid to marry all these women in an immigration-related sense.”
Eventually, Hang moved out and filed for divorce in 2010. He appeared to want a speedy divorce, asking the judge for an earlier date for the proceedings than was proposed.
Vu denied Hang the possibility of a quick divorce by filing a counter-claim and demanding for child support. The claim asserted that Hang had committed adultery and that he had gotten another woman pregnant.
In response to the murder charges, Hang sobbed and claimed, “I didn’t do that.”
“I’m a good husband,” he also said. “I work hard and I always show up for work each day.”
His hearing took place last Wednesday, where he spoke from the county jail through a live video feed.
If found guilty, Hang will face life in prison without the possibility of parole.