A 43-year-old contractor, described by police as a “jilted lover,” was arrested Tuesday evening on suspicion of strangling a 42-year-old hairdresser.
Tina Pham’s body was found in her apartment on Oct. 24 in what police initially believed to be an accidental death. An autopsy, however, revealed that she had been strangled.
Hung Thuc (Hank) Nguyen of Garden Grove was arrested at his home at 6 p.m. Tuesday and was being held at Orange County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail, said Garden Grove Police Detective Ron Shave.
Police said Nguyen had known Pham for about three years, but the victim’s relatives said they had broken up and that Pham sometimes hung up on Nguyen when he called.
Detectives searched Nguyen’s home two days after Pham’s death. According to a search warrant affidavit, Nguyen refused to allow police to take photographs of what appeared to be a bite mark on his left thumb.
A friend of Pham’s told police that Pham had suffered a suspicious injury to the head six months ago. Shortly afterward she broke off her relationship with Nguyen, according to the search warrant affidavit. Nguyen also told the friend that he was still in love with Pham and wanted to get back together with her.
Pham’s body was found face-down in her bathroom by her roommate’s daughter, police said.