Doua Yang left his home Friday excited to meet for a tryst, prosecutors say. A few hours later, he was dead of multiple gunshot wounds outside his car.
Now, his would-be lover, a married woman, is accused of killing him.
Nou Zong Lee, a 34-year-old Columbus woman, was charged with second-degree murder on Monday, April 8 in Anoka County District Court.
Prosecutors say a digital paper trail of illicit romantic messages led them to her. Her husband, 42-year-old Teng Vue, was also arrested last week but later released without being charged.
Doua Yang was found outside his car in Columbus around 9:40 p.m. April 1. He had been shot five times and hadn't been dead long when Anoka County sheriff's deputies arrived, the criminal complaint said.
According to the complaint: Doua Yang had exchanged Facebook messages with an account belonging to Lee earlier in the day, "professing his love for her and wanting to meet."
Previous messages made it appear the two "were in a romantic relationship and had met on previous occasions," according to the complaint.
Messages from Doua Yang included "I will be ready whenever you are" and "I can do it with you anywhere at any time," the complaint said.
Nou Zong Lee said the account and messages were hers, but said it was just a flirtation and she had never met Yang, according to the complaint.
Her attorney didn't return a call from comment Monday afternoon.
The day after Yang died, Nou Zong Lee purged 12 Facebook "friends" from the account -- foremost among them Doua Yang -- and shut the account down, according to the complaint.
She told police she didn't leave the house between 4 p.m. the day of the killing, when she picked up her daughter from school, and the next morning.
But the daughter hadn't gone to school that day and cell phone records from later that night didn't match her story, the complaint said.
Nou Zong Lee also searched for Doua Yang on Ancestry.com two days after his death and saved a screenshot of the results on April 3, even though she told police she didn't t know who he was, the complaint said.
His name as a suspected homicide victim hadn't been made public by then.
Doua Yang body was found a few miles from Nou Zong Lee and Teng Vue's residence. It was found next to a car matching a license plate number he messaged to Nou Zong Lee that day, with a trail of blood leading from the passenger side to the driver's side where the body was found.
It appears he was shot outside the car, the complaint said. He had his car keys and $700 in cash on him.
Nou Zong Lee was tight-lipped in interviews with police and offered little information, the complaint said.
Her husband said he didn't know about the messages and wasn't responsible for Doua Yang's death.
He claimed he and Nou Lee went to bed at 8:30 p.m. the night of the murder and never left the house after getting home from work at around 6 p.m., the complaint said.
He could still face charges at a later date, Anoka County Sheriff's Commander Paul Sommer said.
He initially said he never suspected his wife of cheating on him, but later told police he'd found a picture of another man on her phone about a month ago.
The couple's 17-year-old daughter said "she felt her mother may have been having a relationship with someone else the last few months," the complaint said.
The daughter said that about two month ago, Nou Zong Lee left the house late and stayed out all night, according to the complaint. Teng Vue asked the daughter to speak his wife about the incident, but Nou Zong Lee didn't say where she went or why.
When shown the Facebook messages between Doua Yang and his wife, Teng Vue "became very emotional and was biting his lower lip," and said he couldn't "believe she did this again," the complaint said.
Nou Zong Lee was arrested April 4. She's being held in the Anoka County Jail on $100,000 bail.
Marino Eccher can be reached at 651-228-5421. Follow him at twitter.com/marinoeccher