Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Su-Ya Kim

Real Name: Su-Ya Kim
Nicknames: No Known Nicknames
Location: New York City, New York
Date: June 29, 1991


Details: In 1981, Su Young Kim and Su-Ya Yu were married in Seoul, South Korea. Soon after, they moved to the United States. For years, they worked in flea markets until they made enough money to open two stores. One store was in Long Island and the other was in Bushwick, an ethnically diverse section of Brooklyn. By 1991, they had settled in an apartment in Queens, New York, with their two sons, and were successfully running their two stores.
However, their happy life was ruined on June 29. Su-Ya dropped her two sons off at their grandmother's house and went shopping. When her husband came home at 8 pm, she had not returned. He called all of her friends, but no one knew where she was. He and his brother later found her car parked in their parking garage with the engine stone cold.
The next day, police asked Su Young to come to the morgue; a young woman's body had been found. He identified the remains of a young woman has Su-Ya's. She had been murdered by nine stab wounds from an unknown man; her remains coldly dumped in a trash dumpster in Bedford Stuyvesant. Although she was nude, there was no evidence of rape. Police determined that she had been the victim of random violence.
However, unlike most random crimes, police were able to find a witness. At around 3 am before her body was found, a private security guard named Joe Jones had witnessed an unidentified man early in the morning acting strangely around the garbage can that was later found to have contained Su-Ya's remains. He told the man that he could not dump there, but the man offered him $20 and he agreed. As the man handed Joe the money, he noticed that there was blood on his shirt. The man claimed that he had been in a fight.
The man soon left but Joe was still suspicious. He and a friend began looking through the garbage and found Su-Ya's body. He hailed a passing ambulance, but Su-Ya had been dead for several hours. Joe gave a description of the man, his car, and the license plate. Investigators later found a match: a car that belonged to a Taiwanese exchange student who attended CW Post College in Long Island. The car was cold and apparently had not been driven for several hours. There was also no evidence of blood in the car. Investigators do not believe she had anything to do with the case.
Police began looking at the security guard as a suspect, until a lie detector test and other evidence made police believe that he had nothing to do with the murder either. The police are now looking for leads in her murder. For nearly two years, husband Su Young Kim stayed in the United States, but the memories of his wife proved too painful to bear. In April of 1993, he shut down his business and returned with his two little boys to South Korea, his wife's killer's identity still a mystery.

A composite of Su-Ya's killer

Suspects: The unidentified person seen by security guard Joe Jones was a white man wearing round glasses. At the time of the murder, he was in his twenties, but would now be in his forties. He was 5'6", weighing between 130 and 140 pounds, with blonde hair, and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a white tank top with a blue stripe in the middle. He was also wearing blue jogging shorts with a yellow sailboat insignia on the leg. He was driving a blue Nissan at the time of the murder.
He may have worked in or lived around the area that the garbage can was located. He also may have been a delivery man or a cab driver. He has never been identified. It is possible that he may have connections to the car that belonged to the Taiwanese exchange student.
Extra Notes: This segment ran for the first time on October 20, 1993.
Actor Daniel Dae Kim, who played Jin in the TV-series "Lost," as well as appearances on "Hawaii-Five 0" and "24," appears in this segment as Su-Ya's husband's brother.
Results: Unsolved. Interestingly, in the years since this segment aired, viewers have made note of the similarity in appearance between the composite of Su Ya’s killer and that of infamous New York City serial killer Joel Rifkin. Joel was active around the time that Su Ya was killed, and at least one of his known victims was another Korean woman named Yun Lee who was around the same age as Suh Ya. However, he has never been charged in this case, and some people have noted that Rifkin’s chosen victims were typically sex workers, which did not fit Suh Ya’s profile.