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Chinatown community eyed as cops work to solve quadruple slaying upstate

Four members of the Chen family were murdered

Four members of the Chen family were murdered upstate in October. Depicted on the right is Jin Chen. To the left is his wife Hai Yan Li and the couple's children Anthony, left, and Eddy. Photo Credit: New York State Police

Police from upstate New York, investigating a gruesome quadruple slaying that wiped out a Chinese immigrant family, have been probing Manhattan's Chinatown in an effort to solve what remains a puzzling case of homicide.

Since Oct. 10, when officials discovered the body of Jin Feng Chen, 39, his wife and their two children inside their home in the town of Guilderland, New York State Police have been canvassing the Chinese community here in an effort to uncover the motive for the brutal killings. The bodies of Chen, his wife, Hai Yan Li, 38, and the couple's sons, Anthony, 10 and Eddy, 7, were found both slashed and bludgeoned in their home, with some of the victims suffering fractured skulls, according to death records.

A wake and Buddhist service for all four members of the Chen family took place Sunday at the Boe Fook Funeral home at 41 Canal St. A funeral is scheduled for Monday, to be followed by burial at All Faiths Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens, said Edward Chiu, a Chinatown official who has been helping the victims' relatives with funeral arrangements and securing visas for travel from China.

"It is going to be big," Chiu said about the impending funeral.

Chen, an immigrant from Fujian province who was in the United States legally, had owned a small restaurant. However, according to one Chinatown source who didn't want to be named, Chen's business had essentially been closed down for about two years before his death. His wife was in the United States illegally, said the source. The lack of visible means of support has given rise to speculation among Chinese in New York City that Chen might have been involved in an illegal money transfer scheme or perhaps a gambling operation.

A spokesman for the State Police has only said that the investigation was continuing and would not give further details. An NYPD official said the department's intelligence division had been contacted by upstate police to see if Chen was known for criminal activity, but that nothing was uncovered in databases.

A week ago, State Police walked up and down East Broadway, a major Fujianese neighborhood in Chinatown, placing bilingual fliers in storefronts in hopes of shaking loose information that might help the investigation. For years, law enforcement officials have reported that much illegal human smuggling has come from Fujian province, where the Chen family originated.

Two photographs, one of the entire family and another of the two boys alone, were included on the fliers.

The lack of information and arrest of any suspects has frustrated the family of the deceased, said Chiu, an official with the Lin Sing Association, a Chinatown fraternal group.

"They are afraid that after the funeral on Monday, there will be nothing [further]," said Chiu.

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