WHITE LAKE TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Police in southeastern Michigan are investigating the death of a professional poker player whose burned body was found in a recreational area a month after she returned from Los Angeles to live with family.
The death of 33-year-old Susie Zhao, who was known as Susie Q to other players, could be related to her travels on the poker circuit, said Det. Lt. Chris Hild, of the White Lake Township police.
"We have to determine whether or not this is a cover-up or this may be some sort of retaliatory incident because of her profession,” Hild said Wednesday. He declined to give more information about how she was killed, saying the investigation was still ongoing.
Zhao's body was discovered July 13 at the Pontiac Lake Recreation Area in Oakland County.
She had winnings of at least $187,441, according to the World Series of Poker website, including $73,805 at an event in 2012.
“I proficiently play high stakes poker for a living. Its kinda weird because I’m a girl,” her Twitter profile states.
Meredith Rogowski, who has known Zhao since they were teens in suburban Detroit, said her friend followed her dreams.
“She was a free spirit in the truest sense,” Rogowski said.