Police: Li not suspect in Shao's death, though fleeing could be - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Police: Li not suspect in Shao's death, though fleeing could be considered suspicious

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) - Police say the death of 20-year-old Tong Shao is suspicious. The Iowa Sate student was found in the trunk of a car in Iowa City Friday -- weeks after she went missing.

Now police are looking for a man they say she knew, 23-year-old Xiangnan Li, an international student at the University of Iowa. They say he may be in China now.

"If he is indeed in China, that does create a different level of effort on our part as opposed to say a neighboring jurisdiction or a neighboring state, which would make it easier to stay within our normal traveling distances," said Scott Gaarde, Iowa City Police Department.

Police are not calling Li a suspect, just a person of interest, saying they want to talk to him because he may have some information that could help them solve this case. However, the fact that Li may have left his apartment in Iowa City and went back to his home country of China could be considered suspicious behavior.

"It could certainly be deemed as suspicious," said Gaarde. "I don't think that's an unreasonable assumption."

The United States does not have an extradition treaty with China, but since Li is not a suspect, police are not concerned about that at this time.

"It's pretty pre-mature at this point because we're not even at a place to name a suspect as well as to even seek charges as well as to seek extradition," said Gaarde. "I think it's still premature at this point to even consider that considering we have a lot of steps in this investigation which we need to get to."
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