2 suspects wanted, woman arrested in connection with double murder in Heights area

Courtney Fischer Image
Saturday, March 18, 2023
2 suspects wanted in connection with Heights double murder, HPD says
Polie Phan, 26, and Jaidan Vu Nguyen, 25, are charged with capital murder in the fatal shooting and are wanted by police.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Authorities are looking for two men wanted in connection to a Heights-area murder back in January that appears to be drug-related.

Polie Phan, 26, and Jaidan Vu Nguyen, 25, are charged with capital murder in the fatal shooting and are wanted by Houston police.

HPD was called to the 1700 block of West TC Jester on Friday, Jan. 27, about a neighbor being concerned that a Toyota Prius was running inside a garage at about 8:30 a.m.

Dana Ryssdal, 35, was found dead at the home while his friend, 37-year-old James Martin III, was reported missing along with a white Dodge Ram truck that belonged to Ryssdal.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Person found dead after neighbor notices car running unattended at Timbergrove Gardens home

Authorities are investigating a scene as a homicide after they were called to the Timbergrove Gardens community on West TC Jester on Friday morning.

Three days later, on Jan. 30, that truck was found in southeast Houston, but Martin was not located. It wasn't until Feb. 1 that Martin's body was found in the trunk of the Prius at an HPD impound lot, where it was towed for evidence processing. Police said Martin's body was bound with duct tape and had been shot multiple times.

Jaiden Nguyen, left, and Polie Phan, right, were identified as two homicide suspects tied to the deaths of two men on TC Jester.
Houston Police Dept.
Polie Phan, left, and Jaiden Nguyen, right, are shown in additional photos posted by HPD.
Houston Police Dept.

A woman accused of cleaning up a Heights-area home where the men were killed appeared in court for the first time overnight and was arrested Friday afternoon, according to police.

Kathy Vu, 23, is charged with tampering with evidence. A judge in probable cause court set her bond at $40,000.

Kathy Vu, a suspect in the TC Jester slayings, is seen here in a booking photo.
Houston Police Dept.

Houston police said an H-E-B receipt from the day of the murders, back in January, helped lead investigators to Vu.

READ MORE: H-E-B receipt could be key to murders of 2 men in TC Jester home, 1 suspect detained

A woman has been charged for her alleged role in cleaning up the murders of Dana Ryssdal and James Martin in the Heights in January, according to documents.

Police said they found bleach and iodine bottles in the back of Vu's car, and an H-E-B receipt from the day of the murders, showing she bought trash bags, towels, and other items she allegedly used to clean up the crime.

According to documents, the motive behind the murder appears to be drug-related, as police reported finding "marijuana in various places throughout the residence," and bundles of cash totaling $35,980 found in the freezer.

A search warrant says Ryssdal and Martin were in the marijuana harvesting business in Oregon, where it's legal.

RELATED: Missing man's body identified after a friend was found dead in Timbergrove Gardens home, police say

According to HPD, the two victims were on Fleetwell Dr. when a suspect opened fire. One victim died at the scene. The second ran from the area and died from his injuries.

New documents state that during an interview with Vu, she admitted to being in a relationship with Phan, one of the murder suspects.

She also added that Martin had a history of threatening a lot of people, including her boyfriend.

"If anything, because people don't want to pay him back. If anything were to have happened, it would definitely have been self-defense," she told authorities.

She told investigators that Martin owed her boyfriend $40,000 "after a narcotics-related transaction did not go as planned."

However, court documents reveal police believe Martin and Phan had a history and that Phan owed Martin money.

SEE ALSO: Docs reveal marijuana and $35k in cash were found inside home where 2 men were killed on TC Jester

New court docs are revealing the business venture between two men who were found dead inside a home one week apart in separate locations.

Vu said that on the night of the murders, she had a work-related dinner planned and wanted her boyfriend to go with her, but he did not attend "because emergencies happened." She denied having any knowledge about what happened between her boyfriend and Martin.

However, court documents say Vu was texting and talking with her boyfriend before, during, and after Martin's murder.

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RELATED: Man found shot to death in Houston home was visiting from Oregon, police say

The homeowner's neighbors called police after seeing a pickup truck had been left running in the garage for several hours and the homeowner wasn't picking up his phone.