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News Release

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Media Relations

Los Angeles Man Arrested in 1990 Cold Case Murder NR12178rh

Los Angeles: Detectives from the Cold Case Homicide Special Section of Robbery-Homicide Division are announcing the arrest of a Los Angeles man for an unsolved 1990 Los Angeles Murder.

LAPD detectives have been investigating the murder of 31-year-old Ann Yao, a Los Angeles resident and the Attempted Murder and Vehicle Theft of a Santa Monica resident for over 22 years.  Yao was murdered, while the other victim was seriously injured as they were seated in Yao’s vehicle which was parked on Lucerne Avenue south of Wilshire Boulevard on February 10, 1990.

The cause of Yao’s death was attributed to a gunshot wound to the head.  The motive for the murder was robbery, as property was taken from both of the victims, including the other victim’s vehicle.

Cold Case Homicide detectives linked Michael Tharrington to the murder after a review of the case, along with re-interviewing several of the witnesses.

On April 17, 2012, around 7:50 a.m., Tharrington was asked to meet detectives at the Wilshire Area Police Station.  Tharrington was arrested and booked for murder with a one million dollar bail into the 77th Area Jail and will be arraigned on April 19, 2012.

Detectives handling the investigation are Detectives Michael Pelletier and Richard Bengtson, Robbery-Homicide Division, Cold Case Special Section at 213-486-6831 or 213-486-6819.  During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247).  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.”  Tipsters may also go to, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.