Arrest made in 1998 murder of 28-year-old Nguyet 'Anna' Nguyen

KING COUNTY — Deputies with the King County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that an arrest has been made in the murder of a woman in 1998 -- and the arrest happened after evidence from 1998 was reviewed.

On Nov. 9, 1998, deputies say 28-year-old Nguyet “Anna” Nguyen, who had an 11-year-old daughter, left home and told her mother she was going to visit her fiancé. Nguyen was never seen or heard from again. Detectives said they suspected foul play early on in the investigation.

Despite never finding Nguyen’s body, the King County Medical Examiner’s Office issued a death certificate for her in 2015.

Deputies said their investigation in Nguyen’s disappearance began Nov. 10, 1998, when her family reported her missing.

“Detectives learned that the day she was reported missing, Nguyen had plans to fly to Reno, NV with her fiancé to get married,” deputies said in a press release.

On Nov. 11, 1998, deputies said Nguyen’s vehicle was located in the parking lot of a Tukwila casino and an ex-boyfriend of Nguyen’s was questioned about her disappearance.

“Although he denied having any involvement in her disappearance, detectives noted that he provided ever-changing stories regarding his whereabouts during the time in which Ms. Nguyen went missing,” deputies said.

In 2019, a Detective John Free was assigned to the investigation and found surveillance footage from the Riverside Casino on and around the date Nguyen disappeared.

"Although it was known that detectives had previously viewed the footage, there was no comprehensive record to reflect what had been viewed an analyzed," according to a probable case statement.

Detective Free reviewed the footage and among the approximately 283 hours of footage from six cameras, he said her ex-boyfriend, Phan Kim Seng, is clearly seen on casino surveillance video. Seng told police he was not there, and also that he had a scratch under one of his eyes from playing basketball. But investigators believe he went to the casino after the confrontation with Nguyen, and that his scratch was made well before his story about the pickup basketball game.

In a press release, the Sheriff's Office said it reexamined the case and gathered facts that weren’t previously known to detectives.

It appears from court documents that the break came when Free reviewed and logged the 1998 casino surveillance that already was in evidence.

On Friday, deputies arrested Seng and booking him into the King County Jail. He's charged with second-degree murder.

“This is the fourth cold case our Major Crimes detectives have solved this year,” said Sheriff Mitzi G. Johanknecht. “My Major Crimes detectives do outstanding work with limited staffing and still no funding for a dedicated Cold Case Unit. Instead, they work these unsolved murders in addition to their heavy caseloads in the pursuit of justice and closure for the families who have lost their loved ones.”

Below is KIRO 7's coverage on cold cases:

Misty Copsey

Dec. 27, 2013: Police take to social media for 21-year-old cold case

April 23, 2019: Misty Copsey's face displayed on truck in hopes of getting new info in missing girl case

Sep. 17, 2019: Vanished: 27 years since Misty Copsey, 14, last seen in Puyallup

Teekah Lewis

Jul. 22, 2012: Possible break in case of Teekah Lewis' disappearance

May 7: 2013: Escape of women in Cleveland gives Teekah Lewis' mother new hope 

Jan. 24, 2019: Trucks featuring Teekah Lewis unveiled on 20th anniversary of her disappearance

Sky Metalwala

Nov. 9, 2011: Timeline in disappearance of Sky Metalwala

Sept. 12, 2012: Lawyer for Sky Metalwala's father says it's time mother's family came forward

Jan. 19, 2015: Bellevue police detective will take fresh look at cold cases

Nov. 6, 2018: Bellevue boy, Sky Metalwala, missing for seven years

Nancy Moyer

Jul 16, 2019: No charges yet for man who confessed to cold case killing and recanted

Jul. 19, 2019: Man arrested in Tenino mother's cold case murder set free

Susan Powell

April 1, 2012: Neighbors react to new revelations of Susan Powell's disappearance

April 3, 2012: Utah police chief defends handling of Powell case

May 7, 2012: Steven Powell's journal reveals obsession with Susan Powell

Dec. 10, 2012: Search for Susan Powell led to father-in-law's phone

May 16, 2013: Search for Susan Powell in Salem, Oregon still leaves family without answers

May 21, 2013: Search for Susan Cox Powell over as investigators focus on Josh Powell's brother

May 28, 2013: Susan Cox Powell's father to hand out fliers over nearly 500 miles

Oct. 26, 2107: Investigators want to crack computer in Susan Powell case

Mandy Stavik

Aug. 29, 2018: DNA obtained by co-worker can be used in 1989 murder trial

May 24, 2019: Guilty verdict in 1989 cold-case murder trial 

Jul. 2, 2019: Man convicted in 1989 cold case murder sentenced to 26 years in prison

Seattle Center

Jan. 29, 2017: Seattle police investigating 1967 Seattle Center cold case homicide

May 8, 2019: Truth from the grave: SPD and genealogy solve Seattle Center cold case murder from 1967 

Sarah Yarborough

Feb. 23, 2018: Detectives hope new sketches will help find Sarah Yarborough's killer

Oct. 3, 2019: Arrest made in 27-year-old murder of Federal Way teen Sarah Yarborough

Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

May 18, 2018: Arrest made in 1987 Snohomish County cold case

May 18, 2018: DNA technology helps police catch suspect in Washington cold case 

Michella Welch and Jennifer Bastian

Aug. 12, 2013: New tips collected in 1986 murders of Tacoma girls 

Sep. 15, 2014: DNA of sex offenders being tested in cold cases 

April 6, 2016: Experts treat 30-year-old murders as if they just happened

Jun. 21, 2018: Friends of victim react to cold-case arrest 

Jan. 15, 2019: Suspect in 1986 cold case of Jennifer Bastian expected to make plea deal

Other local cold cases

Jun. 20, 2012: Cold case reopened after human leg bone found in Clallam County

Jun. 20, 2012: Man tied to unsolved rapes, slaying may never be arrested

Jul. 27, 2012: Cold case dig under concrete floor comes up empty

Oct. 16, 2012: DNA from 'chewing-gum survey' leads police to fugitive in 1976 murder

Jul. 10, 2013: Man charged with murder in 1986 cold case

Jul. 26, 2013: Tacoma cold case suspect charged

Jan. 13, 2014: Remains exhumed in 23-year-old cold case

Mar. 11, 2014: New evidence in Mountlake Terrace cold case death

Jun. 20, 2014: Rapist expected to admit to 1980 cold case murder

Aug. 27, 2014: Man charged in 1993 cold-case murder

April 30, 2015: Former Pasco officer named as suspect in cold case homicide

Mar. 24, 2106: After 35-plus years, man arrested in Seattle killing

Mar. 26, 2106: Man convicted of 1993 murder gets 37-year sentence

Mar. 29, 2016: Former Seattle man convicted of 1957 murder closer to new trial

Sept. 20, 2016: A look at Seattle cold cases: Can you help solve them?

Jun. 28, 2017: Jury deciding fate of transgender woman charged with murder

Nov. 9, 2017: Cold case murder suspect pleads not guilty to Tacoma murder

Feb. 14, 2018: Cold case detectives hope to link local unsolved crimes to serial killer Ted Bundy

Feb. 28, 2018: Local detectives look to new DNA technology to solve decades-old murders

Sept. 28, 2018: Sex offender charged with Seattle cold case rape, was serial groping suspect

Oct. 11, 2018: Husband and father of hiking trail murder victims takes polygraph to move cold case forward

Feb. 13, 2019: Two suspects arrested on murder charges from 1995 cold case

Mar. 15, 2019: Remains found in 1971 identified as missing Aberdeen teen.

April 11, 2019: In wake of cold cases, Legislature poised to expand DNA testing

April 11, 2019: Deputies: DNA linked woman to cold case arson scene

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