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CSULB student dies from asphyxiation strangulation

Kate Yi

courtesy of Kara Zdimal

Kate Yi

Tiffany Rider, Managing Editor

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Kate Yi, a 20-year-old Cal State Long Beach nursing student, was allegedly strangled to death by her boyfriend, 20-year-old Jonathan Huynh of Mission Viejo.

Yi died from asphyxiation strangulation last Thursday, according to the coroner’s office, after an altercation with Huynh.

According to a Long Beach Police Department press release, Yi’s roommate, Kim Ryman, called the LBPD Thursday evening after discovering Yi’s body.

Long Beach homicide detectives immediately began an investigation to find her murderer after Paramedics pronouncd Yi dead at the scene.

The coroner’s office would not elaborate on how the cause of death was determined, but said more information will be released in the next few days.

The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office is preparing charges against Huynh, who was arrested at 2:15 a.m. Saturday for the murder of Yi. His bail is set at $1 million.

The Daily Forty-Niner attempted to contact Ryman via e-mail, but she did not respond.

Steve Crawford, a senior anthropology major, lives in the Villa Dor apartment complex at 777 Bellflower Blvd. in Long Beach — the same apartment building where Yi lived and was murdered.

Crawford said he was at his apartment on Thursday night and received an instant message online from a friend, who also lives in the complex, that said police were in the building. At 9 p.m. police knocked on Crawford’s door and asked if he had seen or heard anything regarding the incident.

Crawford said that he had not witnessed anything nor had he heard anything about the incident until the police arrived. 

“This place is quiet. Not a whole lot goes on here,” Crawford said.

A woman in apartment No. 211 said, through her closed door, “I don’t know what happened,” and declined to comment further. Other residents were either not home or didn’t respond.

A friend of Yi’s, junior nursing student Kenna Sheetz, said Yi was a blessing.

“I feel terrible about what happened to her. She had so much ahead of her, and so much to look forward to,” Sheetz said via MySpace message.

Due to the timeliness of the event, the CSULB nursing department is not commenting on the death of Yi, according to nursing department receptionist Lindsey Yeats.

According to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Inmate Information Center website, no court date has been set as of Monday.

Bezart said the investigation is still ongoing.

“Even though he’s been charged, [police detectives] still have to build their case,” Bezart said. Police are gathering information about Yi and Huynh’s relationship and looking to see if Huynh has a criminal record.

Bezart said via e-mail that the LBPD detectives “coordinated seamlessly with other details to bring this tragedy to a timely conclusion.”

Bezart said it could be a long time before this case is adjudicated.

“A lot of energy goes into solving these cases … and the time involved could last several months or even years to reach a final conclusion,” Bezart said, “but it’s certainly worth it if it brings the bad guy to justice.”

Anyone who has information about the incident can contact LBPD Detectives David Rios or Daniel Mendoza at (562)570-7244.

 

Matt Brown and Chelsea Roberts contributed to this report.
 

This updated version of the story was posted at noon on Wednesday, April 8. A previous version included a photograph of the inside of Yi’s apartment, which has since been removed.

If anyone has any information about Yi’s life, or knew her personally and would like to talk about her life, please contact the Daily Forty-Niner at (562)985-8000 or [email protected]

35 Comments

35 Responses to “CSULB student dies from asphyxiation strangulation”

  1. Your name on April 6th, 2009 11:24 am

    how old was she?

  2. Your name on April 6th, 2009 3:03 pm

    she was 20 years old…

  3. Your name on April 6th, 2009 5:56 pm

    that is so horrible. i wish her family & friends the best through this.

  4. Your name on April 6th, 2009 6:43 pm

    Kate was in the first semester nursing program, N200. Just 20 years old, with her whole life ahead
    of her………….keep her family and fellow nursing students in your thoughts and prayers. And tonight, hug your loved ones and remember how fleeting life can be.

  5. Your name on April 6th, 2009 8:10 pm

    I’ve heard from other sources that her COD was asphyxiation/strangulation

  6. Your name on April 6th, 2009 11:08 pm

    I went to high school with Kate and we competed in the same events on our track team. We lost touch when college hit but remained friends online. When people pass away, and you tend to hear “they always had a smile on their face” over and over again – in this case, it is MORE than true. She was a smart, joyful, beautiful girl that did not deserve this. Her, her family and her closest friends are in my thoughts and prayers.

    I understand as college journalists, that it is your guys’ jobs to do whatever possible to get “the story” – but please respect Kate’s roommates and neighbors by not invading the property to find out more details. It is more than impulsive and disturbing to post a picture of the inside of her residence.

  7. Your name on April 7th, 2009 2:10 am

    I went to high school with Kate as well and feel that it is inappropriate to post a picture of inside her apartment. I hope for the best for her family and know she is in a better place.

  8. Your name on April 7th, 2009 9:22 am

    To both of the your names who object to photos of inside Kate’s apartment: Her murder is a tragedy, but objecting to photos of her apartment taken from outside with an accessible view? Come on. If the curtain is open are you also going to ask the neighbors to close their eyes when they pass by. If real friends find that objectionable, go close the curtains.

  9. Your name on April 7th, 2009 9:28 am

    I agree with the last “your name” posting. I’m sure the photographer didn’t do some type of paparrazi type stunt to trespass for the shot of the exposed to everybody’s view apartment. All the photo shows is that Kate had a neatly kept apartment. It isn’t like the photographer stole her soul or something. I’m sure he/she gained access by one of the tenants because it’s a security complex. If you have a complaint about the journalist doing their job, direct it at whoever opened the gate and quit trying to blame the media for her demise. Direct your anger at her murderer.

  10. Your name on April 7th, 2009 9:29 am

    And celebrate that you knew the wonderful young spirit for the brief moments you shared.

  11. Your name on April 7th, 2009 9:32 am

    I think the 49er did a good job with this sensitive story. I live near this apartment and, remember the case isn’t solved yet, so I appreciate all of the information I can get about this tragedy. We all feel less safe because this could happen so close and nobody saw or heard anything.

  12. S. on April 7th, 2009 5:18 pm

    I went to high school with her. We were in orchestra together, and I was blessed to have her in my Anatomy class last semester. I also knew Jon, who attended the same school. We had planned a double date for Disneyland (it fell though) and I feel bad I never got to go. I let him chill in my dorm a few times while Kate was in class. I hope they figure everything out. My prayers are with her and her family, and with Jon, even if he committed the murder, I want him prosecuted with fairness that everyone deserves. Innocent until proven guilty. And if he is convicted, I hope they have evidence to prove it.

    Kate was a wonderful, kind girl. I hope she rests in peace.

  13. believer in Jesus on April 7th, 2009 6:15 pm

    Life is short and sad to say, sin is the cause of death. Innocent people get caught even in ruthless acts of crime and that is why God is our only hope for survival. This earth can only offer temporary satisfaction and our eternal destination affter death either in hell or heaven. I hope all that reading this blog will have that hope in Jesus- the one and only Saviour. Repent of your lifestyle that is detestable to God! Believe in His Son who He sent to die on the cross for the sins of men who He loves. To live without Jesus, one stands condemned already. This condemnation will bring nothing to you but utter destruction at your door steps by the God who created you!

  14. Your name on April 7th, 2009 10:32 pm

    Hi, I am Kate’s roommate. And this is my apartment, and the fact that i come to school and find my living room posted on the front page of the school paper and all over the internet really bothers me. It is disrespectful…its hard enough for me as well as others to be going through this tragedy, and i dont even know what to say…its messed up. take this off!

  15. JR Salazar on April 8th, 2009 12:18 am

    If this was in Texas, Huynh would facing the Trio of Death on the gurney. Little respite, if any, for this guy whose fate is sealed.

  16. AC on April 8th, 2009 1:53 am

    The roommate’s permission was not received and the picture of the couch should be immediatley removed.

    Thank You

  17. Your name on April 8th, 2009 2:05 am

    the murder was caused by a sexual act…. the question is… was it intentional to suffocate her? or did he think it was sexy? I’m not trying to make a joke out of this but asphyxiation strangulation from my understanding is a sexual act..

  18. Your name on April 8th, 2009 2:20 am

    This is a horrible tragedy and we need to do something about it. More women are being abused and killed by their intimate partners than ever before. We are seeing it on the news almost every day. This is in our own community and we must do more to bring awareness on campus.

  19. cc on April 8th, 2009 3:53 am

    Kate was my classmate and friend..We shared our first semester of nursing together…I will never forget her wonderful personality and the beautiful smile she always carried. She was always so happy and motivating no matter how stressful moments were. We will miss you so much Kate. Can’t believe I won’t be saying you in clinical this week. We will never forget you. RIP. We love you.

  20. Your name on April 8th, 2009 4:30 am

    If I can digitally enhance the photo of this living room and find information that shouldn’t be revealed, can anybody else?

  21. CSULB Journalism Grad on April 8th, 2009 3:43 pm

    Regarding the matter of the Daily Forty-Niner’s publication of the photo of the late Ms. Yi’s apartment, this would appear to be an editorial judgment call of community taste. If the photographer did not trespass and, as has been noted in another post on this thread, the room is in view of passersby, then it’s not likely an laws have been violated. If that is the case, the issue here would seem to hinge whether the photograph reveals anything to the reader that could not have simply been described in writing in the article itself. If it does not, then might the photo’s publication be interpreted to veer across the line — from useful, pertinent information to the public into the territory of feeding sensational curiosity? In other words, is the photo’s publication compellingly justified? In the context of the report of the crime, and how fresh the sense of violation and loss must be for Ms. Yi’s family members and her roommate and friends, perhaps the affected communities would consider such a photograph more appropriate to publish at a later time — perhaps in a follow-up story to the case, weeks or months from now, or in the more humanizing context of a separate personal-feature article on Ms. Yi and her life. But this to be done later and sensitive to the wishes of her family members and roommate. The context, placement, tone and timing of a photograph can mean everything when it comes to ethics. It can go either way: good or bad, appropriate or inappropriate. What staff and editors at any publication must remember is to be highly sensitive to such questions, to know their communities, and to deliberate well the nature of their INTENT as they attempt to provide important and timely news information in service to the public. It’s not always easy, and not everyone will be satisfied with the final decision. Bottom-line: can they justify their choice as being an ethical one while still doing their job to serve the public? And in the end, how would any of us feel to have the camera lens turned on us and our property, to the wider public, in a similar situation?

  22. CSULB Journalism Grad on April 8th, 2009 3:43 pm

    Regarding the matter of the Daily Forty-Niner’s publication of the photo of the late Ms. Yi’s apartment, this would appear to be an editorial judgment call of community taste. If the photographer did not trespass and, as has been noted in another post on this thread, the room is in view of passersby, then it’s not likely an laws have been violated. If that is the case, the issue here would seem to hinge whether the photograph reveals anything to the reader that could not have simply been described in writing in the article itself. If it does not, then might the photo’s publication be interpreted to veer across the line — from useful, pertinent information to the public into the territory of feeding sensational curiosity? In other words, is the photo’s publication compellingly justified? In the context of the report of the crime, and how fresh the sense of violation and loss must be for Ms. Yi’s family members and her roommate and friends, perhaps the affected communities would consider such a photograph more appropriate to publish at a later time — perhaps in a follow-up story to the case, weeks or months from now, or in the more humanizing context of a separate personal-feature article on Ms. Yi and her life. But this to be done later and sensitive to the wishes of her family members and roommate. The context, placement, tone and timing of a photograph can mean everything when it comes to ethics. It can go either way: good or bad, appropriate or inappropriate. What staff and editors at any publication must remember is to be highly sensitive to such questions, to know their communities, and to deliberate well the nature of their INTENT as they attempt to provide important and timely news information in service to the public. It’s not always easy, and not everyone will be satisfied with the final decision. Bottom-line: can they justify their choice as being an ethical one while still doing their job to serve the public? And in the end, how would any of us feel to have the camera lens turned on us and our property, to the wider public, in a similar situation?

  23. CSULB Journalism Grad on April 8th, 2009 3:46 pm

    Regarding the matter of the Daily Forty-Niner’s publication of the photo of the late Ms. Yi’s apartment, this would appear to be an editorial judgment call of community taste. If the photographer did not trespass and, as has been noted in another post on this thread, the room is in view of passersby, then it’s not likely an laws have been violated.

    If that is the case, the issue here would seem to hinge whether the photograph reveals anything to the reader that could not have simply been described in writing in the article itself. If it does not, then might the photo’s publication be interpreted to veer across the line — from useful, pertinent information to the public into the territory of feeding sensational curiosity? In other words, is the photo’s publication compellingly justified?

    In the context of the report of the crime, and how fresh the sense of violation and loss must be for Ms. Yi’s family members and her roommate and friends, perhaps the affected communities would consider such a photograph more appropriate to publish at a later time — perhaps in a follow-up story to the case, weeks or months from now, or in the more humanizing context of a separate personal-feature article on Ms. Yi and her life. But this to be done later and sensitive to the wishes of her family members and roommate.

    The context, placement, tone and timing of a photograph can mean everything when it comes to ethics. It can go either way: good or bad, appropriate or inappropriate. What staff and editors at any publication must remember is to be highly sensitive to such questions, to know their communities, and to deliberate well the nature of their INTENT as they attempt to provide important, timely news information in service to the public. It’s not always easy, and not everyone will be satisfied with the final decision. Bottom-line: can news organizations justify their choices as being ethical ones while still doing their job, often a very difficult but vital one, to serve the public?

  24. Your name on April 8th, 2009 6:58 pm

    I live in the complex…I think it is bad enough that the curtains have been left wide open at the apartment, but I can’t believe someone would be tasteless enough to go over and start snapping pictures. Have some respect.

  25. Rod Blum - Attorney At Law on April 9th, 2009 4:17 am

    What happened is certainly a tragedy and no one ever deserves to die at the hands of another. There is no justification for it and it’s obviously apparent that Kate was a sweet and promising young girl. Remember though that her boyfriend is also only suspected and until a trial is conveined, he is just that! A suspect! This guy Jon is not Scott Peterson and should not be tried in the court of public opinion whatsoever. In this country, you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Let me remind you all how our justice system works. Until he is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a jury of his peers, he is innocent. That is unless anyone one of us is a witness to the murder and I don’t think that was the case.

  26. Your name on April 9th, 2009 4:44 am

    To Rod Blum: Thank you for your admonitions to the emotional young CSULB students, counselor. I’m reasonably certain these comments are mostly reactionary as a natural progression of human emotion. It’s hardly likely any of these students, friends or family of Kate will run to the courtroom with nooses demanding immediate retribution. My hope is that you are not part of the defense strategy and running a contrary tactic in the court of public appeals, and are merely being conciliatory. The blindfolded lady holding the scale will do her job based on evidence and argumentation.

  27. anon on April 9th, 2009 1:13 pm

    Sorry in advance for the impersonal nature of my comment, in this tragic situation. It is directly solely on the grammar and word-choice. “asphyxiation strangulation” is redundant. Death by strangulation is always due to asphyxiation. Do not make up your own nonsense terms.

  28. Your name on April 9th, 2009 2:50 pm

    I have a friendship with the roommate of Kate who found her body with Kate’s mother. Believe me from what I have heard from the people who are directly effected by this tragic event, there is plenty to incriminate the suspect. He will be tried fairly in a court of law, which he has the right, but he will be convicted and justice will be served… So many lives irreversibly changed by this disturbed obsessed individual. Pure evil has come too close and is one relationship removed from me.

  29. Your name on April 13th, 2009 6:09 pm

    the night after she was killed i had driven by and wondered what happend when the coroner was there and i rode by bike today and i was overwhelmed by emotions and almost started to cry. i have no clue who she was but its so sad to see thes things happen to such young people.

  30. Your name on April 14th, 2009 7:14 pm

    “the murder was caused by a sexual act…. the question is… was it intentional to suffocate her? or did he think it was sexy? I’m not trying to make a joke out of this but asphyxiation strangulation from my understanding is a sexual act.”

    The friends and family of Kate don’t need to read things like this ^^^ Until the coroner or LB PD release that information, we assume nothing. According to the police report, they had a fight, not sex.

  31. Robin on April 23rd, 2009 2:45 pm

    For the person who wrote this: “the murder was caused by a sexual act…. the question is… was it intentional to suffocate her? or did he think it was sexy? I’m not trying to make a joke out of this but asphyxiation strangulation from my understanding is a sexual act..”

    This is FALSE, and I hope no one has been misled by your statements. You are thinking of “AUTOEROTIC asphyxiation,” in which participant(s) draw sexual gratification from various forms of suffocation, sometimes to the point of loss of consiouness or death.

    Strangulation in itself is just being strangled. Asphyxiation is dying or losing consiousness because your breathing is somehow impaired, whether by choking, suffocating (as by noxious gases or fumes), or strangulation. Any abuse or violence at the hands of one’s partner is horrendous, but at this point, the police are only sharing that Ms. Yi died because her boyfriend strangled her to death. The situation is tragic enough without people adding sensational, unverified speculations about sex. People who are misinformed just add further pain for all involved.

  32. Spitit on May 24th, 2009 1:18 am

    Kate Was One Of My Best Friends Sisters 🙁
    It Affected Her And Her Family So Much
    They Dont Deserve That At All
    Truly If Kate’s Death Has That Much Impact On Such A Small Family Then She Was Truley A Blessing, Wonderful, And Kind Girl
    I Hope She Knows How Much They Love Her And I Hope She Rests In Peace Too

  33. anon on June 13th, 2009 3:12 am

    I was a friend of jon’s.

    He was pretty good at 40k. I hope they find him innocent so we can play again. We all wondered what happend when they came into games workshop to take him away.

  34. deanzajigg on July 22nd, 2009 10:25 am

    I knew Jon in highschool and spoke to him consistantly until about 2 months before this happened. Honestly, I’d love to believe he’s innocent…but….

  35. Yaeseul Lee on October 28th, 2009 7:44 pm

    I really miss Kate. I heard what happened. I can’t believe he did that. I met him when I went over to the Yi’s for thanksgiving. I thought he was really nice. I really miss her and can’t believe what happened! I hate him and always will for this. I hope he burns in hell for this. I really do. Kate was nothing but a good person, friend, sister, etc. 🙁 I will always miss you Kate!

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