As police continue investigating last month's brutal slaying of two Chinatown women, the family of one of the victims received mourners Thursday and hoped that her spirit would help find the killer.
At the Ng Fook Funeral home on Mulberry Street in Chinatown, mourners paraded tearfully past the casket containing the body of Xiao Ling Li, 70, who was shot dead June 29 in a Henry Street building reputed to be a massage parlor. Also killed was Yong Hua Chen, 36, whose children the older woman often baby-sat. A fire was set after the killings.
Family and friends paid their respects to Li by burning incense and bowing before the casket, in which the grandmother lay in a red dress with a red carnation.
Some mourners burned paper money in a special fireplace, a Buddhist tradition to give the spirit money in the afterlife. , who came from China for the funeral, and Li's husband, Peter Mack of Chinatown.
A funeral is set for Friday, followed by cremation at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. Funeral arrangements for Chen were not known.
In a news conference, Li's family said through an interpreter that initial news reports that the deaths of the women were possibly related to prostitution were wrong and hurtful. Yin, 40, said her mother was a brave and adventuresome woman who liked living in the United States and took computer classes to sharpen her skills. Mack, 80, said he had been having trouble sleeping since the killings.
When asked how he felt, Mack replied, "Not too good."
Peter Chiu of the Lin Sing Association, a community and business group, said the community donated $5,000 to cover the cost of Li's funeral.
Yin said that, for now, only her late mother knows who committed the crime. Her mother's spirit, Yin said, would help police crack the case.
The NYPD arrested a livery van driver earlier in the week on charges that he menaced a cabdriver by allegedly threatening to kill him and his family. The van driver is considered by police to be a person of interest in the double slaying, but has not been charged.
Detectives are investigating whether Chen had taken money from a traditional underground credit system popular among Chinese immigrants.