Lisa Nguyen, Long Beach Graphic Designer, Murdered By Suicidal Father At 27 Years Old
Updated after the jump: One of Lisa's professors remembers how fellow students used to call her "WikiLisa." Originally posted on Jan. 10.
The youngest victim of a bizarre Harbor City murder-suicide on Sunday was 27-year-old Lisa Nguyen -- a San Pedro native and graduate of California State University, Long Beach.
As a working graphic designer, Nguyen left behind an array of social-media profiles that allow us a glimpse into her life and work.
From her Facebook, we learn she freelanced at Circle Group, Inc as an "illustrator/graphic designer." On her MySpace profile, she described herself as "colorful loud eccentric and direct" and said she wanted to live in London one day.
Neighbors say she was home on a two-week vacation at the time of her murder.
LAPD investigators believe 61-year-old Bach Xuan Nguyen strangled his wife, 56-year-old Bich Loan Truong, and his daughter Lisa at their Harbor City home before dropping off a suicide note at a relative's house and jumping from a 12-story retirement home in San Pedro. All three were declared dead Sunday morning.
From the original Weekly report:
According to detectives, Nguyen took an elevator to the top of the tower. He removed his shirt and placed his keys on top of it before plunging toward the concrete below.
Officer Rayner said a coroner's autopsy has yet to be completed, but that blunt force trauma, or asphyxiation, appeared to be the cause of the women's deaths. One body was found in the bedroom, and the other in the bathroom.
CBS Los Angeles talked to some of Nguyen's neighbors; they indicated the middle-aged man had been diagnosed with terminal cancer -- he just went to the doctor last Monday -- and had recently been trying to sell his house.
"The way it looked, [he felt] like nobody was going to [be able to] take care of his family," said one neighbor.
It appears Lisa Nguyen attended Nathaniel Narbonne High School in Harbor City. Some of her old classmates commented on the Weekly's murder-suicide story with their memories of her:
Tiffinee Bowen says, "Lisa was one of my first friends at Narbonne... she was like the color yellow... a great artist and a wonderful friend... we had so many random adventures together.... Mrs. Nguyen was also sweet... and because of her... I eat so much asparagus today..."
Helen Bowen says, "Oh Lisa, I remember you & my daughter in high school hanging out & having fun times. You coming over to eat with us & lighting up our home with your laughter & joy."
Nichole Beaver says, "I feel lucky to have known you for the short time I did in high school. You left a small imprint on my life as I am sure you did with so many others."
Sara Lyons says, "Lisa was the most vibrant human being I have ever met. For such a tiny person, she had the biggest personality you could ever hope to come across. She was beautiful, fierce, funny, and fabulous, so incredibly talented, and brimming with positive energy. We all thought she would take over the world someday soon."
Nguyen posted her designs and illustrations to various sites. Here are a couple commissioned pieces from her MySpace:
Did you know Lisa Nguyen? What do you remember about her?
Update: Robin Richesson, a professor of illustration and costuming at CSU Long Beach, wrote the Weekly with her fond recollections of Lisa:
"I wanted to post about Lisa, but could not get the button for comments to work. She was my student at Cal State Long Beach, and I hired her to work in our computer lab, and to model for my Costumed Figure Drawing Class. She was a fabulous model for that, and she adored clothing and knew a great deal about fashion, and about art, and design. She made it her business to find out about everything, and students called her "WikiLisa". She sometimes got in trouble because she never stopped talking. She really lived her life in every moment. She was completely approachable, and forgiving, and really urged her friends to get of their butts and do things. She was extremely social, and there was never a dull moment with Lisa. I expected to watch her grow, and follow her progress from London, where she was planning to move. A pint-sized powerhouse, she will never be forgotten."