A Michigan man was arrested in connection with the death of professional poker player Susie Zhao, police said Saturday. The 33-year-old's body was found burned on July 13 at a state park in White Lake Township. Zhao recently moved back to Michigan to live with her parents after she spent over 10 years living and playing in California and Las Vegas.
A 60-year-old man from Pontiac, Michigan was arrested around 9 a.m. Friday morning after White Lake Township Police found the suspect's vehicle, police said in a press release, reports the Detroit Free Press. Police stopped the suspect near I-275 and Michigan Avenue and had a search warrant, according to White Township Police Det. Lt. Christopher Hild. The suspect's name, charges, and motive were not released. The case will next go to the Oakland County Prosecutor's office in the next few days, reports Click On Detroit.
We continue to look for assistance from the public in the death of Susie Zhao. Any tips on this investigation can be called into the @FBIDetroit field office tip line at 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324). pic.twitter.com/3WuLO1hkpS— WLTPD (@WhiteLakePolice) July 29, 2020
Zhao's remains were found burned at a state park, police said. She was last seen alive by her mother the day before she was found at 5:30 p.m. Police believe she was killed near where she was found before her body was set on fire. However, they have not released a cause of death yet. "You have to determine whether or not this is a coverup, or this may be some sort of retaliatory incident because of her profession," Hild told WIFR last week. Authorities ask anyone who had spoken with Zhao between July 11 and 13 to contact Hild at 248-698-4404 ext. 2381. The FBI has also joined the investigation.
Yuval Bronshtein, Zhao's former roommate, told WXYZ she was "surprised, confused and saddened" by Zhao's death. "It's hard to picture her having enemies," he said. Another friend, Bart Hanson, said Zhao was an "excellent" poker player and "one of the best" in Los Angeles. "I never would have thought anyone would of wanted to do anything to her," Hanson added.
Please see the attached press release reference an ongoing investigation. Anyone with information, please call Det./Lt. Hild at 248-698-4404 ext. 2381. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/8beDaEjKQ6— WLTPD (@WhiteLakePolice) July 20, 2020
Zhao was born in Beijing and was raised in Michigan. She pursued a professional poker career in Los Angeles and finished 90th at the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event, winning over $73,000. Zhao earned over $224,000 in her career, according to her profile on The Hendon Mob. She moved back to Michigan on June 9. Bronshtein told WXYZ Zhao moved back to Michigan to "confront challenges in her personal life."