Select It Sunday: Thoeun Peng

Selected by Kris: Thoeun Peng, missing from Fresno, California since February 22, 1997. Thoeun was planning to drive to Lowell, Massachusetts — a 45-hour drive across 1-40 (or 46 hours via another route, without tolls), a distance of around 3,100 miles and change. I wonder why he was going there, and why, given the distance, was he not flying instead. In any case, he didn’t get very far: his car turned up in Auberry, merely 43 minutes from Fresno.

That’s all the information I have, unfortunately. Thoeun’s case has been added to NamUs, but without any additional info. It isn’t in the CDOJ database; it’s was only on the Fresno Police Department website.

Kris noted Thoeun’s name suggests a probable Cambodian ethnic origin for him. Another commenter noted that Fresno has a large Cambodian population.

I wish I had more on this case. He was 23 years old and in twelve days, if he’s still alive, he will turn 43.

16 thoughts on “Select It Sunday: Thoeun Peng

  1. Claire June 5, 2016 / 10:37 pm

    Lowell is the birthplace & resting place of Jack Kerouac, obviously just speculation but that seems to me to be the only drawing point to that city.

    • Meaghan June 6, 2016 / 2:03 am

      I wondered if maybe it was for college, Massachusetts being home to so many of them, but it was the wrong time of year. Winter term would have been in mid swing by then.

    • Susan Motschman June 6, 2016 / 7:59 am

      I am originally from the Lowell/Lawrence area, originally mill cities, which have had several ups and downs. All that it has gone through cannot possibly be summed up here, but the 90’s were not always pretty there–drugs, gangs, etc. and he might have been going there through bad connections. He might have been driving there with something he couldn’t bring on a plane. There would have been a very small possibility that he was going to Lowell for college. The Boston area is loaded with colleges, but not Lowell/Lawrence area. If you search “Lowell, MA in the 1990s”, you will see some of what I am saying here and more.

      On another note, I could find no further info beyond 2010 on the body that was found in Santa Cruz. County. (Searched Thoeun Peng and found link at listing possible connection between the body found and Thoeun Peng.) The Charley Blog is referenced, but nothing beyond 2010. Perhaps Meaghan can find out more there?

      • hennylee June 6, 2016 / 8:49 am

        I don’t live far from this area either (From Haverhill, MA) and Susan is right this wasn’t (And probably still isn’t )exactly a travel destination people seek out. UNLESS he was planning to visit someone in the area or go to School someone where near the area and had someone in Lowell to board with.

      • Lauren Q June 7, 2016 / 12:21 pm

        There was even an HBO documentary, “High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell” that was filmed there in the mid 90s.

  2. Susan Motschman June 6, 2016 / 12:42 am

    There is someone with that name on Facebook. This person has only one “friend”, Keo from Bangkok, Thailand. Probably not the same Thoeun Peng who is missing since 1997?

  3. Lauren June 6, 2016 / 1:30 am

    Weird as there is no reason to drive through Auberry (or anywhere near it up in the mountains) if he was really driving to East Coast from Fresno.

  4. cris June 6, 2016 / 2:08 pm

    There’s a Cambodian community in Lowell as well and they tend to stick together.

  5. Kris June 6, 2016 / 3:27 pm

    Thank you for giving this case some attention. I do not know Thoeun personally, but I came across him on Charley on figured his case could use some attention. There is a man with same name on Facebook, living in Phnom Penh, but he is much younger and has a mole on the left side of his nose. Thoeun Peng is a fairly common name in Khmer anyway.

    I always wonder where, in these ‘few details available’-cases, the family is and what law enforcement does to investigate.

    Is the Cambodian community in the US very much to themselves? Or are they open and assertive to work with law enforcement? I hope that this case will be solved eventually.

  6. Kat June 6, 2016 / 5:17 pm

    I grew up in the Beverly/Salem area of MA, and while we had our own issues (Lynn, anyone?), Lowell was indeed starting to go downhill, totally agree with the posters above. I’ve gotta go with a visit there, unless there is info buried somewhere that he was relocating to another (maybe Asian) community. For the time, I’d be a hell of a drug run. Too much time. Off topic here… My brother drove from Boston to LA to relocate in stellar time, less than two days a few years ago. Thankfully, he made it just fine. No, I did not ask how fast he went/where he peed/when he slept. I don’t think I’d like any of those answers.

  7. Kat June 6, 2016 / 5:18 pm

    I MEANT It would. Not I’d. Jeez. And to answer Kris above, in brief, yes, most Asian communities are very insular.

  8. Aire June 7, 2016 / 10:50 am

    How do you pronounce Thoeun?

    • Meaghan June 7, 2016 / 1:27 pm

      I Googled “how do you pronounce thoeun” and got a response saying Americans have a very hard time pronouncing it and usually say something like “toon.”

  9. Justin June 9, 2016 / 5:58 pm

    Sent an email request to the Fresno PD to put him on the CDOJ MUPS website. May or may not happen.

    • Kris June 15, 2016 / 10:05 am

      Thank you! Hopefully it will receive more attention.

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