Young An was beaten, bound with duct tape, stabbed repeatedly, before being buried alive. She survived the brutal attack. Her estranged husband, Chae Kyong An, has been arrested. A trial date has not been set.
The Attack Against Young An
On October 16, 2022, at approximately 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon, 911 Dispatch for Thurston County, Washington, received a mysterious call. The caller’s muffled screams could be heard, but not in any clear spoken dialect. Random tones from buttons being pushed were also heard. Banging sounds and a dog barking in the background could be distinguished. The 911 dispatcher could not distinguish whether the call was medical. The dispatcher sent officers from the Lacey Police Department to the location where the call pinged from.
When officers arrived at the residence, they discovered the front door unlocked, the garage door open, and signs of a struggle inside the home. Two of the children returned home as officers were combing the residence. They stated they had gone to church that morning with their mother. When they got home, they noticed their father’s van in the driveway. Officers learned the children lived there with their mother, Young An. Despite the fact that their parents were going through a divorce, their father came to the home once per week to do his laundry. The adult child stated she did not see her father in the residence. She explained she had gone into the home to grab her car keys before leaving to go shopping at followed by a visit to Baskin and Robbins for ice cream. The unnamed daughter stated that when they left the residence, her mother’s Toyota Prius and father’s van were the only vehicles parked in the driveway. She further explained to officers that she had received a text message at 1:07 p.m., stating that there was an emergency at her home, so she had returned. A friend of Young An had also received the same text message and had arrived on scene. She told officers that the couple was involved in a volatile divorce, and she had feared for her friend’s safety because there was a history of domestic violence.
Officers questioned neighbors and discovered footage from a doorbell ring camera. It was confirmed that the man captured was Chae An, the estranged husband. He was captured driving Young An’s Prius away from the home. He is seen a few minutes later returning on foot. Chae An pulled his van into the garage and closed the garage door. After a few minutes, Chae An is seen driving his van away from the residence.
The Discovery of Young An
On October 17, 2022 at 12:57 a.m., the night of her disappearance, Young An approached a rural home from the surrounding tree line and begged the residents for help. They immediately called 911 Emergency Dispatch. A Thurston County Sheriff’s Deputy responded. When he arrived at the residence, he located Young An hiding behind a shed in the front yard and recognized her from her driver’s license photo in the victim’s abduction notice. Young An ran to the deputy when she realized he was law enforcement. She stated, “My husband is trying to kill me. Help me.” The deputy asked her name, and she confirmed she was Young An. Young An would also state, “My husband is still out in the woods somewhere.”
Young An’s condition and appearance would be described as frantic and clearly in distress. Pieces of duct tape were noticed still wrapped/partially wrapped around her lower face, neck, and ankles. She had extensive bruising to her head, arms, and legs. Her head and clothing were covered in dirt. The deputy sat Young An is his patrol car while waiting for emergency medical services to arrive. At one point, the deputy removed the duct tape from her neck because she stated that it was difficult to breathe.
Chae An’s Apprehension
On October 17, 2022, at 7:37 a.m., sheriff’s deputies from the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to the Chehalis Western Trail and Steadman Road SE for a suspicious vehicle. Deputies discovered the van and occupant. It was determined to be Chae An. He was immediately arrested.
Young An’s Account of Events
Later that same day, investigators took Young An’s video statement from her hospital bed. She stated that when she and her children got home from church, she asked the children to leave for a little while so that she could discuss divorce and money details with her estranged husband, Chae An. When he became angry, she asked him to leave the residence. Young An went up to the master bedroom to change her clothes. Chae An surprised and attacked her. He punched her in the head a few times before throwing her to the floor. He bound her hands behind her back with duct tape, as well as taping her eyes, thighs, and ankles before leaving for a few minutes. In this short window of being alone, Young An managed to dial 911 emergency dispatch from her Apple watch. She stated she could hear the dispatch operator speaking but couldn’t answer due to being bound. She also managed to send automated text messages to her emergency contacts (the random tones that dispatch had heard during the initial 911 call). Young explained that when Chae returned to the bedroom, he dragged down the hallway, then down the stairs before stopping in front of the garage floor. When he realized her Apple watch was actively connected, he struck it and her wrists with a hammer before removing it. Chae loaded her into the van and drove away.
Young An’s Location Details
Young An explained that they had driven for a while before Chae stopped. He removed her from the back of the van and drug her across the ground. She stated she could hear him digging in the dirt while he told her she would not get his retirement money. At one point, he stabbed her in her breasts several times before pushing her into a hole in the ground and covering her with dirt. Young An described moving her arms, legs, and her head as much as she could keep the dirt off of her face and to allow her as much space as possible. She was buried for several hours before working the duct tape off her wrists and legs. After digging herself out of the shallow grave, she removed the duct tape from her eyes and noticed a larger log laying across the top of her. She saw the van with steamed windows and a light on inside. Young An stated that she wiggled her body out from under the tree and hole. She ran in the opposite direction of the van until she spotted headlights on a road and a house. She approached the house and begged for emergency services and law enforcement.
On October 18, 2022, authorities discovered the location of Young An’s shallow grave. Based on how long she had run and the direction she had come from, they found the site just west of Rainier Road and south of Steadman Road. It was a clearing on the edge of a cleared area of downed trees. At the tree line, investigators discovered the hole that she had been buried in. The hole and surrounding area contained pieces of duct tape. Inside the hole, they found duct tape and hair consistent with Young An. They also located the face of an Apple watch attached to a piece of duct tape.
Current Status of Chae An
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Thurston County Washington, Elizabeth McMullen, filed a Declaration Of Prosecutor Supporting Probable Cause with the Superior Court of the State of Washington.
Chae An has been formally charged with attempted murder in the first degree/domestic violence, kidnapping in the first degree/domestic violence, assault in the first degree/domestic violence, and felony harassment-Threat to kill/domestic violence.