Kim Pham Murder Update: Candace Marie Brito and Vanesa Tapia Zavala Back in Court Tuesday
See Update No. 4 on Page 3 about the preliminary hearing Tuesday for Candace Marie Brito and Vanesa Tapia Zavala, and the third woman being identified. Update Nos. 1-3 are on Brito being I.D.'d and pleading not guilty to murder, Kim Pham's father expressing his grief and witnesses refusing to come forward.
ORIGINAL POST, JAN. 24, 1:43 P.M.: A 27-year-old Santa Ana woman is the second person arrested for suspected homicide in the brutal beating death of Annie Hung "Kim" Pham outside the Crosby nightclub, city and police officials disclosed at a just-concluded press conference that seemed dedicated as much to updating the public on the case as it did to trying to bring customers back to downtown businesses.
"The downtown area is a very vibrant area," Police Chief Carlos Rojas said near the end of his update. "We have very little issues there with our police department. . . . It is not one of our problem areas."
See also: Rally for Kim Pham Friday in Santa Ana
"I visited downtown since the event," Mayor Miguel Pulido commented a few moments later. "I encourage the general public to keep doing so. I encourage everyone else to do so."
Pulido claimed the city is working with downtown businesses to add more surveillance cameras and security guards to the so-called Artists Village. But at the same time, the mayor echoed Rojas in maintaining the area is already "safe," that Pham's killing early Saturday morning was "an isolated incident" and that her death "was not part of a massive crime wave or anything of that nature."
The mayor said the city is working closely with the Vietnamese community, stressing that "we see this as an assault of one of our own. We don't see it as a hate crime."
Pulido called it a "very tragic fight that occurred," adding he and the city's thoughts and prayers are with the 23-year-old Westminster victim's family.
Rojas had earlier indicated the identity of the second woman arrested, as of this morning, for Pham's murder was being withheld due to the ongoing investigation, which has so far concluded three--not five, as originally reported--people were involved in the beating death. The county coroner this week concluded Pham died of blunt force trauma to the head.
"This is still an active investigation," Rojas said. "We need assistance."
All three suspects are females, including the two now in custody who include previously identified 25-year-old Vanesa Tapia Zavala of Santa Ana. A photo of the unidentified third woman, who is a considered a "person of interest" in the case, according to Rojas, was passed out at the press conference:
Photo by Charles Lam/OC Weekly Person of interest in Kim Pham's beating death
Two males who were with the three women have been identified--and they have lawyered up, according to Rojas, who said his investigators want to talk to the men and their attorneys just so they can get a better idea of what happened.
"We do not have enough information to determine how that altercation started or who said what," Rojas said.
Several videos and numerous tips have been forwarded to detectives, who ask for more by calling 714.245.8390 or contacting Orange County Crime Stoppers, even anonymously, at 1.855.TIP.OCCS.
Charles Lam contributed to this report.