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College Student Who Fled Cambodia as Child Slain in Doughnut Shop Robbery

October 28, 1992

GARDENA, Calif. (AP) _ A woman who fled war-torn Cambodia as a youngster and was putting herself through college with a job in a doughnut shop was stabbed to death in the store, police said.

Soy Song Lao, 22, a senior at the University of Southern California, was dragged to the back of the shop and stabbed 36 times by a killer who grabbed a handful of small bills from the cash register.

″I didn’t expect this kind of violence,″ her sister, Lynn Lao Ngov, 25, said Tuesday. ″Every night when I close my eyes, I keep thinking how that guy stabbed her.″

Saturday’s slaying was discovered by a customer who saw a man run from the back of the store, grab money from the register and run out, police said.

The young woman staggered to the front and gave the customer her sister’s telephone number before she lost consciousness.

The killer has not been found.

As a child, Ms. Lao lost her parents to disease and hunger during the reign of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. When the Vietnamese invaded, the 8-year-old girl, her five siblings and grandmother escaped and eventually made it to the United States.

Ms. Ngov said she and her family still consider themselves fortunate to be in the United States.

″We just try to forget. We tried to celebrate, and let her spirit go.″

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