Cops: Poker unrelated to death of pro player in Michigan

Posted at 1:49 PM, August 5, 2020 and last updated 6:49 PM, June 15, 2023

WHITE LAKE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — The death of a professional poker player from California whose burned body was found in Michigan doesn’t appear related to her work, police said Wednesday.

A 60-year-old man was charged with murder Tuesday in the death of Susie Zhao, 33, who grew up in suburban Detroit and returned from the Los Angeles area in June.

Her body was found on July 13 at the Pontiac Lake Recreation Area in Oakland County. Zhao met Jeffery Morris at a motel where she frequently stayed, said Lt. Christopher Hild of the White Lake Township police department.

Zhao, known as Susie Q, won at least $187,441 playing poker, according to the World Series of Poker website, including $73,805 at an event in 2012.

Investigators have no evidence that poker had “anything to do with this at this time. It doesn’t appear to be the case,” Hild said.

He said police are still investigating a motive.

Morris, who has a criminal record, was in a hospital Wednesday, though Hild declined to disclose why. He described him as a transient in the area.

It wasn’t immediately known if Morris had an attorney who could comment on the charge.