A Coquitlam man has been charged with first-degree murder after the body of his missing wife was found in a suitcase in the Fraser River.
The body of Yating (Lancy) Hu was recovered on Aug. 27 from the Fraser River near the west end of Steveston, according to RCMP. She had been missing since mid-July.
Zhongming (James) Mou appeared briefly before Judge David Stone in Port Coquitlam court Monday, charged with one count of first-degree murder. Dressed in a red and grey T-shirt tucked into the front of his blue jeans, the 35-yearold stood in the prisoners dock while a duty counsel lawyer spoke on his behalf. The lawyer said Mou asked that the matter be adjourned for one week so he could get his own legal counsel.
A new court date was set for Monday, Sept. 19 at 9: 30 a.m. Meanwhile, Mou will be kept in custody at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre.
A group of Hu's friends from Coquitlam Mandarin Church gathered outside the court Monday morning.
Ruth Seow spoke about the woman she knew.
"She was a good mom and a good wife," Seow said.
Another friend said they had met Hu when she joined the Tri-Cities church more than a year ago.
"It's shocking news," she said.
Hu's estranged husband originally told police he dropped her off at her Burnaby apartment on July 15 at about 8 p.m.
Later, he changed his story and told investigators that 27-year-old Hu had stayed at the family's Coquitlam home on Nash Drive that night. He said they left the next morning at 5: 30 a.m.
Hu's parents travelled from China and spoke at a press conference on Aug. 24. They said the couple had married in 2003 but that Hu was seeking a divorce.
Hu's body was located three days later, but police did not inform the public to protect the integrity of the investigation. As a result, investigators were able to use various techniques to gather enough evidence for charge approval.
The couple's two children are curently staying with Mou's parents.
The Ministry of Child and Family Development continues to assess the situation.
"This is a tragic outcome for the family of Lancy Hu," said Sgt. Jennifer Pound in a press release. "IHIT (Integrated Homicide Investigation Team) is now focused on the court process and providing the evidence collected through the course of the investigation. It is possible the Hu family will find some closure now that their daughter/ mother has been located and may be put to rest."
Hu's mother and father, Yanyu Xiao and Muming Hu, said they succeeded in doing what they came to Canada to do - find their daughter.
"The Hu family would like to thank IHIT and Burnaby RCMP for all of their great work for aiding them in fulfilling their wish in coming to Canada: to find Lancy," Pound wrote in a Sept. 13 e-mail.
"Knowing what has happened to Lancy has been incredibly difficult for the Hu family, but to be able to put her to rest has provided some peace. They also feel that Canada is a lawful country and believe that justice will prevail and trust that the person responsible will be punished."
Hu's parents plan to take this time to reflect on their positive memories of her, according to Pound.
Pound's e-mail included one direct statement from Hu's family:
"We will forever miss our daughter," they said.