Michigan police are asking the public for help in a grisly killing of a female pro poker player.
Susie Zhao’s body was found burned near White Lake Township earlier this month, and police are still not sure why she was killed.
"I can't even think how somebody could do that," said friend Michelle Lagrou.
The 33-year-old was known on the professional poker circuit as Suzy Q. Her friends here in Michigan say she started playing poker as a teen when they grew up in Troy. After college she played in the big games, and there was one hand in 2017 in Los Angeles when she won $16,000.
"Was a free spirit in the truest sense. Um, she played by her own rules. She followed her dreams. Uh, absolutely brilliant," said friend Meredith Rogowski.
Police say Susie’s murder may be connected to her gambling in other states. Or to somebody locally she met with recently. She came here on June 9 from Los Angeles.
"You have to determine whether or not this is a coverup, or this may be some sort of retaliatory incident because of her profession," said White Lake Township Police Detective Chris Hild.
Her friends say she kept details about her personal life private from them, but she was there for them during special times.
"I will remember that date because that was the night that I got engaged. And it was nice to have her there," remembers friend Kinga Wierzbicka.
"Everybody loved her. Nobody ever remembered her fighting with anybody ever, no conflict, no drama," Lagrou recalled.
Susie’s body was found burned to death in the Pontiac Lake Recreation Area on the morning of July 13. Police say she was last seen by her mother the night before, at 5:30 p.m.
Police are asking witnesses to come forward. "We still are looking for anybody that may have seen or talk to Susie between Sunday at about 5:30 PM and early hours of Monday morning."