Authorities arrest suspect in Las Vegas manicurist’s death

Updated January 11, 2019 - 4:26 pm

Krystal Whipple, the sole suspect in the killing of a nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, was arrested early Friday in Arizona.

Las Vegas police said Whipple, 21, was taken into custody without incident by the Phoenix FBI on the 9400 block of West Cabela Drive in Glendale, Arizona, although the Glendale Police Department wrote on Twitter Friday morning that Whipple was arrested in Phoenix.

Jail records show she was arrested at 9:50 a.m., and was being held without bail at the Maricopa County jail awaiting her initial court appearance.

Her arrest comes nearly two weeks after Nhu “Annie” Ngoc Nguyen, a mother of three, was struck with a stolen rental car and dragged about 50 feet outside Crystal Nails & Spa, 4983 W. Flamingo Road.

Nguyen, 51, died of multiple blunt force injuries, and her death was ruled a homicide by the Clark County coroner’s office.

Whipple is facing felony charges of murder, robbery and burglary, court records show. A criminal complaint and a warrant for her arrest were filed Jan. 4 in Las Vegas Justice Court, according to the jail records.

Whipple was first identified as a suspect Jan. 3, after the Metropolitan Police Department released her mug shot from an April arrest and a video, including surveillance footage of the moments leading up to Nguyen’s death, that quickly went viral.

That mug shot of a brown-haired Whipple had been circulating nationally, but in the mug shot released Friday by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Whipple’s hair was bleached.

Less than a week later, Whipple’s mother and grandmother appeared on national television, begging the woman to turn herself in.

“You can’t run baby. You cannot run,” Whipple’s tearful mother said into the camera in an interview with ABC News. “You have to come forward baby.”

The deadly encounter unfolded at about 3:45 p.m. on Dec. 29, after a woman had tried to pay for her $35 manicure with a credit card that was declined.

According to Sonny Chung, Nguyen’s boyfriend of nearly 13 years, the woman told Nguyen that she was going to get money from her car after at least three failed card swipes.

The couple followed the woman outside and tried to stop her from leaving. But the woman got behind the wheel of a stolen black Camaro and struck Nguyen with the car as she took off, dragging her across the parking lot, Chung has said.

Surveillance footage outside the salon shows Nguyen jumping in front of the car, which already had begun to drive forward. Chung also is seen clinging to the back of the car as it drives away from the salon.

That same night, officers found the Camaro unoccupied at a nearby apartment complex. Police were able to identify Whipple as the suspect after they found receipts and her fingerprints in the car, records show.

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter. Staff writer Kimber Laux contributed to this report.

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