MEDIA CONFERENCE JANUARY 30, 2013
Contact: Captain B. Weimer
Office (573) 882-5923 or Cellular (573) 999-1979
Suspect Identified in 2005 Homicide Investigation of Jeong H Im:
The University of Missouri Police Department (MUPD) has identified Timothy Aaron Hoag (Date of Birth 03/21/1977) as the individual responsible for the homicide of Jeong H Im, a retired faculty member at the University of Missouri.
Background on Dr. Im Homicide:
At approximately 12:24 pm, Friday, Jan. 7, 2005, University of Missouri Police Department (MUPD) officers responded to a vehicle fire on the third level of the Maryland Avenue Parking Garage on the MU campus.
When the fire was extinguished and first responders began checking the vehicle, a deceased individual was located in the trunk of the vehicle. The deceased individual was identified as Jeong H Im, a 72-year-old Korean male who was a retired research assistant professor for the MU School of Medicine. The Maryland Avenue Parking Garage was sealed off and officers began identifying individuals leaving the garage to identify potential suspects and witnesses. A medical examiner was called to the scene.
MUPD officers, with the assistance of the Columbia Police Department and Columbia Fire Department, immediately began conducting an investigation of the incident. After the medical examiner arrived, it was discovered that the victim had been stabbed with a knife to the chest area. The knife, along with additional forensic evidence, including blood, hair and touch DNA, was collected at the crime scene. (A definition of touch DNA is included at the end of this document.)
Chief Jack Watring called for assistance from the Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad and 21 additional investigators were assigned to assist with investigation.
Press releases, including a Clery release, were sent, and MUPD officials held a press conference in order to notify the community and ask for assistance.
Investigators from MUPD have continued to actively investigate this homicide over the past eight years and have identified Timothy Aaron Hoag (Date of Birth 03/21/1977) as the person responsible for this homicide.
Time line and key events, evidence, statements, and details of the investigation:
- Video surveillance footage showed Im leaving the medical building at 10:31 a.m.
- From approximately 10:35 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. several witnesses observed Im's white 1995 4-door Honda Accord, parked in the driving lane on the third level of the Maryland Avenue Parking Garage.
- From approximately 12 p.m. to 12:20 p.m. witnesses observed a white male standing near Im's Honda Accord. The male was seen holding a plastic gas can.
- Around 12:24 p.m. MUPD received a call from an emergency phone on the third level of the Maryland Avenue Garage reporting a vehicle fire. Officers from MUPD and the Columbia Fire Department responded to the Maryland Avenue Parking Garage for the vehicle fire.
- The fire was extinguished and an investigation into the incident began.
- The investigation revealed that gasoline was poured on the trunk lid of the Honda Accord and lit on fire.
- Forensic evidence was collected at the crime scene in the form of blood, hair and touch DNA.
- The Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad was activated on January 7th.
- Investigators from MUPD, City of Columbia Police Department, City of Columbia Fire Department, and the Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad continued to investigate the crime.
- The Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad assisted with the case approximately eight days.
- Investigators from MUPD continued to actively investigate this homicide. Over an eight-year period, at least 300 leads were followed and approximately 60 DNA samples were compared to the evidence recovered from the crime scene.
- The department also enlisted the assistance of many different agencies, including but are not limited to: Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad, Columbia Police Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Boone County Sheriff's Department, FBI, The FBI Behavioral Science Unit in Quantico Va., Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), St. Louis County Forensic Lab, United States Attorney's Office, Bureau of Alcohol and Firearms, Boone County Prosecutors Office and specifically Dan Knight, University of Missouri Campus Facilities, University of Missouri Hospital and Hospital Security, University of Missouri Parking Operations, V.A. Hospital and V.A. Police. In addition, the investigation was profiled several times in different homicide conferences with investigators from around the nation.
- On Dec. 21, 2012, MUPD Investigators received information identifying Timothy Aaron Hoag as the suspect in this case.
- Investigators learned that Timothy Hoag had committed suicide on Aug. 9, 2012 by jumping off a parking garage in Columbia.
- Investigators obtained a blood sample of Timothy Hoag and sent it to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Lab for analysis.
- Investigators learned that Timothy Hoag's DNA matched the blood, hair and touch DNA recovered at the crime scene.
- Investigators identified a potential witness who may have additional information to confirm facts and details of the case. Investigators interviewed the witness who informed investigators that he had transported Timothy Hoag to the Maryland Avenue Garage on Jan. 7, 2005 so Hoag could get a car. He further reported that approximately two hours later, he received a call from Hoag requesting that he pick him up at a business located north of the university and to bring gasoline. The witness picked up Hoag and transported him to the Maryland Avenue Garage with the belief that Hoag needed the gasoline to start his vehicle.
- Upon arrival at the parking garage, the witness parked his vehicle on a level below where the crime scene was located and Hoag took the gas can and walked up a stairwell out of sight of the witness. The witness stated that Hoag was gone for a little while and when Hoag returned He was wearing a particle facemask and hood covering his head. The witness stated that Hoag looked similar to the description that the department had released following the homicide.
- Upon getting in the vehicle Hoag ordered the witness to drive from the area. The witness stated he saw smoke coming out the garage as he drove away.
- The witness then transported Hoag from the area.
- The witness stated that he felt Hoag was involved in the homicide but never came forward out of fear of his family's safety.
This investigation will remain open at this time as investigators work to properly clear the case. From evidence obtained and statements gathered, there is nothing at this time to indicate that anyone else was involved in the homicide of Jeong H Im; however, after this announcement additional people may come forward with supporting details. Dan Knight and the Boone County Prosecutor's Office has been consulted on this case from the beginning and has provided valuable assistance right up to the current day.
The Ihm family has asked that their privacy be respected. The family knowing the media may want a statement has provided a written statement to the MU News Bureau which will be made available today at the conclusion of this news conference.
Touch DNA refers to the DNA that is left behind from skin cells when a person touches or comes into contact with an item. Human beings shed tens of thousands of skin cells each day. These skin cells are transferred to every surface our skin contacts. When a crime is committed, if the suspect deposits a sufficient number of skin cells on an item at the scene, and that item is collected as possible evidence, touch DNA analysis may be able to link the suspect to the crime scene. Touch DNA has been successfully sampled from countless items including gun grips, steering wheels, seat levers, door handles, eating utensils, luggage handles, and countless other items.
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Missouri-Columbia 901 Virginia Avenue Columbia, MO 65211-5170
Phone: (573) 882-7201 Fax: (573) 882-6636