Burned body found near Hoover Dam identified

An escort service owner was beaten to death last month by two employees, who then dumped and burned her body in Arizona near Hoover Dam because she owed them $9,000, a police report obtained Monday said.

The report said the woman was identified by the Clark County coroner’s office as 39-year-old Yung Park, but a former boyfriend said Monday night that her name was Young Shil Park.

Las Vegas police on Thursday arrested Min Soon Chang, 30, and Keon Kyun Park, 19, in connection with the slaying. The suspects confessed to the homicide, the police report said. Keon Park is not related to the victim.

The woman’s body was discovered Dec. 23 by hikers near Kingman Wash, about a mile from the O’Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge.

The victim’s ex-boyfriend, who asked not to be named, said Chang and Keon Park planned to take over her business.

"They wanted her to disappear and then continue the business," said the man, who has cooperated with police.

The discovery of the body made national news because police investigated the possibility that it might be 31-year-old Deborah Flores-Narvaez, a Strip burlesque dancer who was reported missing Dec. 12.

Young Park’s ex-boyfriend said the body had been burned so badly that only one of her hands was spared. That allowed authorities to identify her.

The police report said Keon Park and Chang had reason for torching the body.

"They decided to burn the body because she was an undocumented illegal immigrant and no one would be able to identify her," the report said.

The ex-boyfriend said Chang was Young Park’s driver and Keon Park booked appointments for the escort service.

The report said the woman owed Chang about $6,000 and Keon Park about $3,000.

Young Park ran the escort business out of a home near Rainbow Boulevard and Desert Inn Road.

According to the report, police found a tag for a gasoline can at the site where the body was found. The ground under the body was scorched, indicating the body was burned at the scene.

After the coroner identified Young Park, police found two prior incident reports involving her, but they did not detail what had been investigated. Police used the reports to find Park’s ex-boyfriend, who told investigators about the escort business and the relationship between the suspects and the victim.

On Dec. 28, the owner of a 7-Eleven in Boulder City contacted authorities and reported that an Asian man had come into the store on Dec. 21 for lighter fluid.

The 7-Eleven owner also told police that the same man, accompanied by a second Asian man, returned on Dec. 22 and bought two red plastic gasoline cans, two gallons of gasoline, gloves, a lighter and a bottle of Gatorade.

The report said investigators determined that the tag found on the ground near the body came from one of the gasoline cans bought at the 7-Eleven.

Detectives also obtained video footage from the store. They identified the two suspects through their Nevada driver’s licenses.

Keon Park and Chang were interviewed by police after search warrants were obtained for the escort service.

Park initially denied being at the 7-Eleven but changed his story after he was shown surveillance photos from the store.

He told detectives that he was upset at Young Park because she would not pay him the money he was owed, and that he needed the money to pay his bills.

He told police that he and Chang discussed killing her and leaving her body in the desert.

The suspects picked a spot across the bridge in Arizona, the report said. Keon Park even took Young Park there on Dec. 20 to watch the eclipse because she liked to look at stars, the report said.

According to the report, Keon Park planned to hit her over the head with a rock but lost his nerve.

The next day, when he asked Young Park for his money and she avoided him, he lost his cool.

"He tried to choke her out with his hands, but she woke up and began moaning," the report said.

Keon Park continued to beat her and called Chang over to help him.

"Chang arrived and they both carried the semiconscious Young Park to Chang’s Silver Hyundai Azera and put her in the back seat. … As Chang drove, Keon again tried to choke Young Park out with his hand and his elbow. Chang told Keon to hurry up and handed Keon a wrench they purchased previously from Walmart for this very purpose," the report said.

The woman, who weighed about 100 pounds, was struck in the head several times with the wrench, the report said.

Keon Park and Chang tried to burn the body by soaking clothing in lighter fluid, placing the clothes over the body and then trying to ignite the material with a cigarette lighter, according to police. It didn’t work.

They then tried to start a fire with matches, but the body didn’t burn well because it and the ground were wet. The suspects returned to the body the next day, Dec. 22, poured more lighter fluid on the corpse and threw a flaming napkin on it, the report said.

On Dec. 23, the two again returned to the body, saw that it had been found and left.

The suspects briefly took over the escort service and split the profits, according to the report.

Keon Park and Chang are being held without bail in the Clark County Detention Center on recommended charges of murder with a deadly weapon and first-degree kidnapping with a deadly weapon.

Young Park’s ex-boyfriend, who was shocked by her death, said he had dated her since April 2008. They separated shortly before she was slain.

The ex-boyfriend, 54, said that although they had a tumultuous relationship, they had spoken of marriage.

He described Park as "charming, sweet and loyal."

He said it’s the everyday things couples do that he will miss most.

"I’m going to miss holding her hand," he said. "I’m going to miss the good times we had together."

Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas@ or 702-383-4638.

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