Community still hoping for answers to murder of Austin teacher

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Austin (KXAN) – Sunday marks the three year anniversary of a murder we still know very little about. Investigators say they are still looking into the death of a beloved Austin teacher, Grace Chen.

“Why? Why Grace? What happened?” said Asian American Cultural Center Director Amy Wong Mok.

Chen came to the United States with the passion to teach. “Grace was well loved and well-liked by her students and by the people in our community,” said Mok.

She opened up her own Chinese language school on the second floor of a Northwest Austin shopping center. A building that once showed growth now sits vacant with locks on the doors.

“We are grieving and we cannot move forward because there are so many unanswered questions,” said Mok.

Three years have gone by since the building was swarmed by police. Mok says no amount of time will stop her from trying to get answers.

“As a community, we are on this case; we are not going to let this case be forgotten. We don’t want Grace to be forgotten,” said Mok. “This is what a community is about, that members can come to seek comfort and support. We are not just here to celebrate together; we also share our pain and our despair.”

Police say Chen’s body was found in the restroom. Investigators believe she unlocked the doors to her school at 9:30 a.m. that morning, her body was found a 3:30 p.m. evidence suggest she was killed two hours earlier.

Her husband, Richard Lui, has always been a “person of interest” in the case — and has never been cleared, police say.

“Somebody must have heard or saw something, it’s in broad daylight, it’s not like it was in the middle of the night or anything,” said Mok.

More than finding closure for the Asian community, Mok says she wants to help find peace for Grace’s only son. “To give him some comfort, to bring justice to the murder of his mother,” she said.

Mok continues to contact police every year as the anniversary rolls around. She says police told her Chen’s case has been transferred from homicide to the Cold Case Unit.

“When I saw that cold case, my heart just dropped. It’s just collecting dust, that’s my image; it’s in the corner collecting dust that cannot happen to Grace Chen,” said Mok.  “I don’t want them to do a rush job, I want true justice for Grace but I just don’t want it to become cold.”

Anyone with information about Grace Chen’s murder should call the APD homicide tipline at 512-477-3588 or Crime Stoppers at 512-472-8477.

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