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Police seeking help in murder of professional poker player found burned in remote park

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Posted at 6:30 PM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 18:30:48-04

WHITE LAKE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — White Lake Township police are asking anyone with any information about 33-year-old Susie Zhao especially from July 12 or July 13 to contact them or call 911.

She’s a professional poker player who most recently lived in Los Angeles but came home on June 9. Her mother and step-father live in northern Oakland County.

Police say her parents were going to talk to the media about the case but changed their minds at the last minute as they are still distraught.

Zhao’s burned body was found the morning of July 13 in the secluded Pontiac Lake Recreation Area. Police say she was last seen alive by her mother the night before at 5:30. Her body was discovered at 8:30 in the morning.

Three of Zhao’s friends talked with the media this morning at the Police Department. Meredith Rogowski, Kinga Wierzbicka, and Michelle Lagrou say they’ve known Susie since middle school in Troy and kept in contact with her over the years.

They say she was always friendly with people, was smart and said she started playing poker when she was a teen.

One video from 2017 shows Susie Q, as she was known, playing a hand at a casino in Los Angeles and scooped a pot of $16,000.

Police Det. Lt. Chris Hild says this case could be connected to Zhao’s travels in the poker circuit around the country in several other states. Or it could be the result of meeting someone recently here when she returned. The FBI is assisting in the case.

Her friends said Zhao kept details about her personal life private from them.

Anyone with information can call White Lake Township Police at 248-698-4400 or 911.