Man indicted for allegedly murdering cab driver

by Angela Denning-Barnes on February 15, 2012

Kyle Motgin at his arraignment Feb. 15.

Kyle Motgin, 21, of Napakiak, is facing five felony counts related to the death of 54-year-old Young Suk Chong of Bethel, also known as Suzi. The charges include murder in the first and second degrees, robbery, tampering with physical evidence, and vehicle theft. He is also being charged with misdemeanor theft.

Although Motgin was indicted Feb. 14 by a Bethel grand jury on all six counts, he had been in jail for nearly two weeks. On February 2, Alaska State Troopers took him into custody at a Napakiak residence on an outstanding arrest warrant for assault charges. However, he had become a prime suspect in the murder case through law enforcement interviews with people in Napakiak and Bethel.

Chong was last seen alive Jan. 31 in Bethel at about 3 a.m. driving a Lexus SUV for Taxi Cab Company. That morning, she never returned home from her shift. The next day, she was found dead in her cab in Napakiak, about 15 miles downriver from Bethel, near the village’s dump. Chong’s body and the cab were brought to Bethel for further investigation by the Alaska Bureau of Investigation, who had flown into town.

On Feb. 4, Chong’s remains were sent to Anchorage for an autopsy, which was completed on Feb. 7.

According to Troopers, investigators continued to develop the case while Motgin remained in jail on the other charges. They say they received considerable support and information from people in Bethel and Napakiak in identifying Motgin as a single suspect. Eight search warrants were served in both communities.

Motgin is still being held at the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center, but his bail has jumped from $5,000 to half a million. He plead not guilty to all charges at his arraignment Feb. 15.

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