Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Karen Zhou

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Karen Zhou, a ten-year-old girl who disappeared from this apartment complex in Grenada, Mississippi on May 21, 1994. She was born in China and had only been living in the U.S. for a few years before she vanished; her English was limited.

Karen used to be listed on the NCMEC, but she isn’t anymore. It’s my understanding that the family asked her to be taken off their database. She is, however, on NamUs.

The prime suspect in her disappearance is her stepfather, Shindong He. (I remember I struggled a bit to write Karen’s casefile, not sure which of the stepfather’s names was his family name, since the Chinese do this the other way around. I still don’t know.)

Prior to her disappearance, Karen frequently came to school with bruises, and Shindong He was also abusive to Karen’s mother, Wen Hua “May” Zhou. He later attacked her and, during the assault, told her he’d killed Karen. Shindong He was convicted of aggravated assault and then deported back to China, and who knows where he is now.

If still alive, Karen would be 34 years old. Her disappearance is still classified as a non-family abduction. I don’t know if Wen Hua Zhou is still in the U.S. Wherever she is, I hope she’s been able to rebuild her life.

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