Justice For Luxury Dealer President Who Was Murdered And Dumped In The Desert

Rouchen “Tony” Liao was kidnapped and held for ransom before he was killed in 2018.

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Southern California news outlets report that over three years after his death, a local luxury car dealership owner and his family are finally getting justice. Rouchen “Tony” Liao was kidnapped and held for ransom in 2018 before his body, which still hasn’t been found, was dumped in the desert. But his killers have finally been caught.

Liao was the president of a local luxury car dealership called Real Cars LLC that was located in Orange County. In 2018, Liao was at a shopping center in the city of San Grabiel when he was grabbed by a Chinese national, Peicheng Shen. Shen and another national named Guangyao Yang then took Liao to a local home. There, Liao was held in a closet. From the OC Register:

Shen allegedly abducted Liao and then, with Yang, held him hostage at a house in Corona. The pair are accused of binding Liao’s legs, taping his eyes shut, restraining his arms and confining him in a closet.

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Another man, Alexis Romero-Velez, was the so-called “muscle” of the operation, reportedly using a taser on Liao until the battery was drained. A $2 million ransom demand was made to Liao’s family in China. There may have been a personal vendetta in all this as well, as phone records from the ransom demand show someone saying they lost everything because of Liao.

He heard Liao’s voice (during the phone call) saying words to the effect of, “Father save me, help me, I have been kidnapped,” the affidavit says. “An unknown male voice then came on the line and made statements. … “Your son has made me very poor. I have lost everything and suffered a divorce because of him.

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The kidnappers sent pictures to Liao’s family showing him bound and gagged, and they were told he was badly beaten. This didn’t seem to sway his family, however, as records show the family never paid the ransom. A day or so later, Liao died from his injuries. Yang couldn’t have made things more obvious for investigators:

The FBI also alleges that on July 18, Shen replaced the carpet in the closet of the Corona home where Liao was confined. That same day Yang did an internet search to determine how fast a corpse decomposes in soil and then, along with Shen, traveled to the Mojave Desert to dispose of Liao’s body or other evidence, the affidavit says.

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Yang and Shen fled to China where they were caught by local officials. They are being held on charges related to the kidnapping there as there is no extradition treaty between the U.S. and China. Romero-Velez has been sentenced to over eight years in prison along with having to pay $33,090 in restitution. While Liao’s family has received some justice, his body still hasn’t been recovered.