FRESNO, Calif. -- A girl sold into marriage in her childhood and escalating fights apparently led to Tuesday's murder-suicide in downtown Fresno.
Coroners identified the murder victim as Zyang Vang, who had a troubled past with the man who killed her -- and then himself.
Vang filed to get her marriage annulled in 2004. At the time, she was 22 years old, had been married to Neng Moua for ten years, and bore him five children, starting when she was 13. She got her annulment, but she never got away from Moua.
Candles and flowers are the beginning of a memorial to Zyang Vang outside the pediatric offices where she worked for more than a decade and where she died.
Moua walked in Tuesday, sought out his ex, and fired four shots, killing Vang and then himself. Sang Pediatrics closed Wednesday, but nearly the entire staff returned to work briefly to make sure patients were getting help. Still, the echoes of their shared mourning were ever-present.
"Something would strike (the employees) and they would relive it, and one of the gals said, 'I can hear her screaming,'" said Holly Carter, who's providing crisis communications for Sang Pediatrics.
Vang and Moua lived as husband and wife for more than a decade. But when she took steps to end it, she told horrifying stories of their lives together. Court documents allege Moua bought her from her parents at the age of 12, at the price of $3,500. She said he had a history of strangling her, throwing her to the floor and forcing her to have intercourse. Vang asked a judge to annul the marriage based on her age at the time.
"Once she took that step, I think it would be easy to get under the law, but within the confines of that marriage or that relationship, it would be very difficult," said legal analyst Tony Capozzi.
After she got an annulment, the legal battles continued. Moua fell thousands behind on child support for their five kids, and Vang said she was forced to live in the garage of the four-bedroom home they owned together, the same home where police served a search warrant Tuesday evening.
Woman killed in murder-suicide was once child bride, had 5 children
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