Friends of Refugees

A U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program Watchdog Group

20-yr-old Burmese Karen Refugee Murdered In Utica

Posted by Christopher Coen on November 9, 2010

A 20-year-old Burmese refugee named Pee Ha was murdered last week in Utica. He died from a single stab wound to the heart. He was the father of two young girls. Police have opened a homicide investigation. The Utica Observer-Dispatch has more details:

Utica police late Friday night identified the cause of death in Thursday’s homicide as a stabbing.

Police said Pee Ha, 20, of Utica, died from a single stab wound to the heart Thursday, police said.

Ha was brought to the St. Luke’s Campus of Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare by private vehicle shotly before 7:50 p.m., and was prnounced dead shortly thereafter.

The cause of death was determined through an autopsy Friday conducted by Oneida County Coroner Steve Wolanin.

Capt. James Watson Friday said police still are attempting to narrow down the area where the crime took place.

On Thursday night, they cordoned off a portion of Davis Place near Oneida Street and took photos in and around various businesses in the area...

…A 2007 photograph from the O-D archives shows Ha wearing a shirt from the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees. But center Executive Director Peter Vogelaar said he did not know Ha personally, and did not know how to reach his family… Read more here


Pee Ha, 20, moved to Utica from Burma as a youth, and attended Thomas R. Proctor High School…

…He also was the father of two young girls – ages 1 and 2 – and a member of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Utica, the obituary stated…

…Ha is survived by his girlfriend, Kee Ke Ku; his daughters, Diana and Rostina Ku; his parents, Taw Ner and Gay Shu; his aunt Htee Paw; and four siblings… Read more here

A Utica Examiner article has more information, here.

*UPDATE* – Dec. 1, 2010

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