Convicted sex offender Jeffrey Bernard Morris arrested as suspect in death of poker pro Susie Zhao
Police have arrested a 60-year old convicted sex offender named Jeffrey Bernard Morris in connection with the death of popular poker pro Susie Zhao, whose burned remains were discovered last week in a Michigan forest parking lot…
Although police have yet to officially release the suspect’s name, sources including the Poker Fraud Alert website have named him as convicted sex offender Jeffrey Bernard Morris of Pontiac, Michigan.
Breaking: The man arrested in connection with the murder of Susie Zhao was 60-year-old sex offender Jeffery Bernard Morris, of Pontiac, MI. He does not appear to have a connection to poker. This information has NOT been released yet. Details: https://t.co/Rjs3ACSh8b
— Poker Fraud Alert (@PokerFraudAlert) August 2, 2020
Local police had enlisted the help of the FBI in the case, a task force set up to probe the circumstances of Zhao’s death.
That resulted in detectives and FBI agents swooping on the suspect’s car on Friday morning, ‘pulled over on a warrant in the area of I-275 and Michigan Avenue’, according to police.
Jeffrey Bernard Morris is a Tier III Sex Offender
It would appear that the arrested man named Jeffrey Bernard Morris, believed to be tier 3 sex offender, has no obvious connections to the poker community.
Theory that the reason for the Susie Zhao’s Death is poker-releated debt refuted
This would seem to refute one of the theories being proposed by the police in their initial investigations, that Zhao was perhaps killed in retribution for some poker-related debt.
Last week saw Detective Chris Hild of White Lake Township Police explained in a press conference:
“We’re looking into every lead, every possibility. Obviously when you’re dealing with that type of profession [poker] you have potential of owing debt, and those are things that we’re looking into.”
As we reported previously, the body of 33-year old Susie was discovered on July 13th by a member of the public in a parking lot at the Pontiac Lake State Recreation Park, Northern Oakland County.
Police quickly released a plea for information, detectives telling the public:
“Even if you think it’s something minute, we’ll take any calls.”
Please see the attached press release reference an ongoing investigation. Anyone with information, please call Det./Lt. Hild at 248-698-4404 ext. 2381. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/8beDaEjKQ6
— WLTPD (@WhiteLakePolice) July 20, 2020
The investigation is moving swiftly
The investigation seems to have moved swiftly, the detective in charge explaining:
“We started looking into her past history over the course of the last few days before her death. At that point, we determined that we wanted the assistance of the FBI to assist us with some of their technology.”
That assistance appears to have paid off with this weekend’s arrest, and more details in the case are expected to be released this week.
Susie Zhao’s poker career appears to have been reasonably successful overall, the Beijing-born woman grinding out cash games in the LA area.
She also boasts a Hendon Mob record of $222,671 in live tournament winnings, including a 90th place finish in the 2012 WSOP Main Event worth $73,805.
Susie was a frequent guest and commentator on the Bicycle Casino’s televised “Live at the Bike” series, as seen below, and regularly played at the Commerce and other poker rooms in the area.
Her career had been out on hold recently, reportedly returning to her parents’ Michigan home to ‘confront challenges in her personal life.’
“She followed her dreams, absolutely brilliant”
Friends and poker colleagues of Susie have described her in glowing terms, Meredith Rogowski calling her:
“A free spirit, who played by her own rules”. She followed her dreams, absolutely brilliant. She was the freest spirit, in the truest sense.”
Fellow poker pro and owner of Crush Live Poker Bart Hanson stated of Zhao:
“I never would have thought anyone would’ve wanted to do anything to her. She had such a great attitude and so much spirit. It’s just awful.”
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