10 Year-Old Homicide Solved through DNA

July 15, 2004

News Conference
Friday, July 16, 2004, 9:00 a.m.
Central Community Police Station, 251 East 6th Street, Los Angeles 90014

Los Angeles: On November 5, 1994, Mrs. Rosemary Hom was murdered in the Chinatown area of downtown Los Angeles.
Mrs. Hom had just arrived at her business Amay’s Bakery and Noodle Company, located on the 600 block of North New High Street. She was last seen in her Mazda van driving into the subterranean garage, directly across from the store. A witness, who observed Mrs. Hom drive into the garage, also observed a male Asian follow her into the garage just as the gate was closing. A short time later, the van came out of the garage and left the area at a high rate of speed.
The vehicle was found later that evening, abandoned and parked in a nearby area. Mrs. Hom’s body was found inside the van. She had been stabbed to death.
At the time the case was assigned to Los Angeles Police Department Asian Crime Investigation Section. All available leads were followed but the case remained unsolved.
In January 2004, Detectives Alan Solomon and Ken Yueng, of the Asian Crime Unit, began reinvestigating the case. Through a series of interviews, detectives learned of an ex-employee, who had been fired from the Hom family business due to a series of thefts. A further check of the employee revealed that he had an extensive criminal history, which included a conviction requiring his submittal of DNA into CODIS (Combined DNA Index System), a federal database. Detectives also determined that blood evidence at the crime scene belonged to an individual other than the victim. Detectives met with Scientific Investigation Division (SID) personnel, who agreed to retype the DNA evidence and place the new data into CODIS. SID expedited the testing process and were notified by the Department of Justice that a match had been made from the evidence obtained from the crime scene. The match was to the ex-employee, Thanh Chi Phung.
On July 1, 2004, Detectives located Phung at a residence in La Puente. Phung was transported to a local police station, where he was interviewed, and confessed to the murder of Rosemary Hom.
Mrs. Hom and her husband, Jim Hom, were prominent members of the Chinese American community. They were the owners and managers of the Amay’s Bakery and Noodle Company, which was established in 1965 and had grown into a major fortune cookie manufacturer and distributor.
This news release was prepared by Los Angeles Police Department’s Media Relations Section, at 213-485-3586.