Suspect in Fatal Stabbing of Elderly Asian Woman Was Released From Jail Days Prior

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Authorities revealed that the suspect for the fatal stabbing of an elderly Asian Woman in California on Saturday was released just a few days before from assault charges due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Police said the suspect, 23-year-old Darlene Stephanie Montoya, stabbed the victim, 64-year-old Ke Chief Meng, while the Asian woman was walking her two dogs on April 3 in Riverside, California.

Released from custody

Officers found Meng with multiple stab wounds in her abdominal area in the La Sierra neighborhood around 7:30 a.m. Authorities immediately transported the victim to a hospital to be treated who was later pronounced dead.

The victim lived near the area, said police. Meng’s family became worried when she did not come from. They searched nearby and later discovered police at the crime scene.

“The family started going out looking for her because she hadn’t returned back,” Officer Ryan J. Railsback said.

Police quickly arrested Montoya who fled the scene immediately after attacking Meng. Neighbors reported a suspicious-looking woman walking through the area to police.

Authorities do not believe the crime was racially biased, and that the suspect randomly attacked Meng while she was out. “Our detectives, after interviewing the suspect and going through all the evidence, and everything, they have found nothing to suggest that the victim was targeted strictly for her ethnicity,” said Railsback.

Meng’s death is the most recent in a surge of anti-Asian crime since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. The victim planned to welcome her newest grandchild, her son said.

“She was so excited to be a grandmother, so excited to watch me become a dad, so excited to retire, and most importantly, finally live out her American dream as well. She was supposed to visit me in May, now that she has finally got her COVID vaccine, but now she will never be able to do so,” Yi (James) Bai said.

Officials said the suspect was currently homeless when she attacked Meng. “We believe the suspect did what she did, and committed this murder, her mental health issues and her substance abuse issues probably have something to do with it,” said Railsback, Oxygen reported.

“This is a horrible tragedy that should have never happened. These current bail schedules, directed by the state and set by courts, because of the COVID pandemic, she was released on a citation from jail. If we weren’t under these special rules for the bail schedule right now there’s probably a good chance the suspect would still be in custody and wouldn’t have had the opportunity to commit violence against anyone else. It’s tragic any way you look at it,” said Railsback.

Danielle Joyce Ong

Danielle is a local journalist with a passion for exploring stories related to crime and politics. When Danielle isn't busy writing or reading, she is usually exploring the great outdoors and all the hiking trails in the Bay.