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Suicide Note Solves Grisly 1986 Mystery : Slaying: The dismembered remains of a woman missing for five years are identified after her ex-husband kills himself, leaving a confession behind.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Solving a 5-year-old case, law enforcement officials in Orange and San Diego counties on Friday identified the body parts of a woman killed and dismembered by her ex-husband, who confessed to the crime in a suicide note.

The woman, identified as Kun Yueh Hou, 41, was killed in 1986, apparently by her ex-husband, David Michael McKay, 42, of San Diego, said San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Lt. John Tenwolde.

McKay killed himself in October, leaving a note that detailed the 1986 crime, police said.

“I guess his conscience finally caught up with him,” said Orange Police Lt. Ed Tunstall.

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Although found five years ago, Hou’s body parts, which were discovered at several freeway rest stops in San Diego County, remained unidentified until Thursday, he said.

The grisly case began on Dec. 5, 1986, when drivers reported finding plastic bags containing body parts in trash cans at rest stops between San Onofre and Oceanside, authorities said.

The San Diego County coroner’s office and the Sheriff’s Department were unable to immediately identify the victim because her face was disfigured beyond recognition, Tenwolde said.

Detectives ran her fingerprints through the CalID system, but failed to find a match.

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Two days later, Hou’s son, Jason Yu Hoe, called Orange police and told them his mother had been missing for three days.

Hoe told police that his mother’s purse and car keys were missing, but her car was at home and no clothing or other belongings were taken, according to a missing persons report filed that day.

“He last saw his mother sleeping in her bed,” Tunstall said, adding that McKay was contacted in San Diego and claimed he did not know where Hou was.

For five years, Orange police had no leads in the missing persons case, and had uncovered no evidence of foul play.

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But on Oct. 31, Hou’s ex-husband hanged himself from a tree in a secluded grove near the Garden Grove Freeway and the Santa Ana Freeway riverbed.

His body was discovered by Orange police who were chasing drug suspects across the city border into Santa Ana.

Officers found the suicide note in the man’s pockets, Tunstall said.

Orange police then reopened the case, found Hou’s fingerprints on file at the U.S. Department of Immigration and Naturalization and began searching for Jane Does that matched her description.

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This week, a match was made, leading Orange detectives to San Diego, where they confirmed that it was Hou who had been dismembered, Tunstall said.

Police, still not sure about a motive, said the investigation is continuing even though the assailant is dead.


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