EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)-- A man accused of killing a woman at their Altoona home was in court Monday.
41-year-old Ying Xiong stood mute in Eau Claire County court, and a judge entered a not guilty plea for him.
Xiong is charged in the death of 35-year-old Panhia Vue. He's accused of strangling and burning her body in June.
Xiong is scheduled to be back in court in October.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – Prosecutors have filed a murder charge against the man accused of killing the woman he lived with.
A charge of First Degree Intentional Homicide was filed against Ying Xiong, 41, of Altoona on Tuesday. An autopsy showed Panhia Vue, 35, of Altoona was strangled.
A criminal complaint says Xiong told a deputy that he was sorry that they had to watch him, and that “I’m sorry for what I did, but she did something stupid.” Xiong also told the deputy that he had been married twice before, and both of his wives left him for another man.
The complaint says officers responded to a home on 10th Street West in Altoona on June 11. They found Vue’s body in a shed on the property. She had severe burns on her upper abdomen, and investigators found burn marks in the shed as well.
The complaint goes on to say that Vue and Xiong had domestic problems in the past, and have a five-month-old child together. The owner of the home told investigators that, at one point, Vue kicked Xiong out of the house. A witness told police she heard Xiong and Vue talking in the bedroom of the home on June 9.
Other people living there told police that Xiong was drunk that night. They also told police that Xiong took three children to school the next day. Investigators found out that he texted his daughter, saying he was going fishing. Another person living at the house picked up the kids. Investigators say Xiong came home later on June 10, went in the bedroom he had been in with Vue the day before, and locked the door.
The next morning, the complaint says Xiong left the house in a car registered to Vue, swapped it for an SUV in Lake Hallie, and drove to Mosinee. Police tried to stop him, and arrested him after Xiong ran from the SUV. He had more than $19,000 in cash in the car, and investigators later found that there was “a substantial amount of cash” missing from the home on 10th Street West in Altoona.
“We were very shocked, and we were just glad that things worked out,” Xiong's neighbor Barbara Gordon said.
“We've lived here for 42 years, and we've never had this happen before. But we feel safe."
Police said the investigation is not over, and Xiong's being brought to justice shouldn't be seen as a victory.
"In cases like this, there's this impression given by TV shows and stuff that it's a positive feeling, but it's not. In this case, keep in mind that there's lots of victims out of here that are coming out of this case," Altoona Police Chief James Small said.
"I hope that people who are victims of domestic abuse are willing to go get help, that this provides some kind of outreach to people who need help, and help is available to them," he said.
Xiong is scheduled to be back in court July 9.