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Answers Sought In Murder Of Retired Teacher In Hercules

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Susie Ko

Susie Ko (CBS)

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HERCULES (CBS SF) — Family, friends and community members gathered at the home of a slain Hercules woman Monday night for a candlelight vigil to remember her life.

Neighbors found Susie Ko, 55, unresponsive at her home on Ash Court in Hercules around 10:45 p.m. Friday after she failed to pick up her husband at the airport as planned, Hercules police said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police have not disclosed how Ko is believed to have died, but police spokeswoman Officer Connie Van Putten said it appears she suffered a “traumatic injury,” and said investigators are treating the case as a homicide.

Since her death, Ko’s family members, friends and others have come together in an effort to find the killer.

Ko’s car was gone when she was found, and Ko’s son Simon Ko, 29, has been coordinating online outreach—including on the sites www.welovesusieko.com and www.facebook.com/welovesusieko—to try to track down the sky-blue 2011 Subaru Outback.

Simon and his sisters, Diana Ko, 27, and Sophia Ko, 24, flew in from Southern California and have been working together find her car.

The Subaru, which has an Idaho license plate of 1A1F680, is presumed to have been stolen. A photo of the car is posted on each website.

Simon Ko said strangers who saw information about his mother’s death online have helped spread the word about the missing car through social media.

“That impressed me,” Simon Ko said. “Everyone has been really helpful.”

A number of possible sightings of the Subaru have been reported in cities including Bakersfield and Davis Creek, Calif., but Simon Ko said those sightings have not been confirmed.

Susie Ko’s husband, Kelvin Ko, 60, was flying in from Idaho on Friday night and Susie was supposed to pick him up at Oakland International Airport, police said.

Kelvin Ko works as an insurance auditor in Idaho, where he and Susie also have a home. Simon Ko said his mother would go to the Hercules home, which his parents have owned for more than 30 years, to maintain the home and yard.

“She’d go back periodically to stay a week or two at a time to maintain the house, including landscaping,” Simon said. “That’s what she really liked to do.”

Susie Ko retired in 2006 after teaching kindergarten and second grade for 15 years at St. Patrick School in Rodeo, Simon said. She also served several times as president of the Chinese Association of Hercules, he said.

Susie and Kelvin Ko were planning a trip to London, which would have departed Monday, to visit their daughter, Sandy, 32, and granddaughter Esme. Sandy lives in London and works for Google there, according to the family’s website.

Instead, Sandy arrived in the Bay Area Monday to mourn her mother’s death.

“I’m still in disbelief that this morning could be so different from what my family had planned,” Sandy said in a post on the website Sunday. “Our world’s have been turned upside down.”

As they mourn, the family is working to track down the car, which they are hoping will lead them to the killer. Simon Ko believes it’s only a matter of time until the Subaru is found.

Simon and the Ko family want justice. But more than anything, they want answers.

“It’s easy to villainize this person,” Simon said. “At this point, it’s about getting the facts straight and doing this the right way.”

Anyone who spots the Subaru is asked to call Hercules police at (510) 724-1111, or call 911, immediately.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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