Husband set wife on fire, died while locked in burning NW Harris County garage, sheriff says

Mycah Hatfield Image
Monday, April 29, 2024
Husband set wife on fire, died while locked in burning garage: HCSO
A husband allegedly set his wife and himself on fire in a violent murder-suicide on Desert Rose Lane in northwest Harris County overnight.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A couple's adult sons woke up to their mother's screams as, according to the Harris County sheriff, she was being burned alive in a fire allegedly set by her husband Monday morning.

According to the sheriff's office, the sons, 28 and 21 years old, escaped a house fire unharmed in the 6500 block of Desert Rose Lane, but unable to help their mother and father, who locked himself in the burning garage of their northwest Harris County home.

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said first responders were dispatched to the residence at about 1:40 a.m., where Tuybach Ho, a 58-year-old nail tech, and her 62-year-old retired husband, Tien Trinh, died. Investigators believed Trinh lit the fire in what they're treating as a murder-suicide.

Before authorities arrived, the sheriff said one of the sons was studying for an exam. For an unknown reason, deputies were told Trinh became agitated and cut off power to the home.

The sons then went to sleep only to wake to their mother's screams, according to Gonzalez. He said Trinh had set Ho on fire. The sons tried to put water on her and extinguish the fire but could not.

The sons left the burning home for safety and then heard their father's screams coming from the garage, where Trinh was locked inside.

Firefighters attempted to enter once they arrived but could not get to him.

"For someone to set someone ablaze like that is a very cruel way to do it," Gonzalez said. "It is one of the most painful ways to do it. My heart goes out to the sons. Again, trying to study for an exam, trying to do better for themselves. It's tough enough to lose one parent, but to lose both and then also to witness it, that's horrific."

Since October, the sheriff's office has been called out to the home three times. Two of the calls were about verbal arguments. In December, they responded to a mental health crisis that Trinh was suffering from.

According to the sheriff, there are allegations of drug use by Trinh.

The medical examiner's office will determine if Ho suffered any injuries before being set on fire.

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