Yuhwei Chou, the mother accused of killing her two young children by asphyxiation, could stand trial after her final psychiatric evaluation this week.
Somerset County Assistant Prosecutor Michael McLaughlin informed Superior Court Judge Peter Tober that they are performing the evaluation “to get some last pieces in place” for the 37-year-old woman’s case, which began on Monday.
Yuhwei Chou, 37, was indicted in January on charges of murdering her two children on Nov. 8 in Hillsborough. https://t.co/nlrxU46Pah
— MyCentralJersey (@MyCentralJersey) July 12, 2022
Chou’s attorney Britt Simon informed the judge that the results of his expert’s evaluation have already been sent to prosecutors.
The New Jersey mother was charged with two counts of first-degree murder for killing her 7-year-old daughter Samantha Ross and her 11-month-old son Paul Ross in her car found off Mountainview Road in Hillsborough Township, New Jersey, on Nov. 8, 2021.
A witness reportedly found Chou’s gray Toyota Corolla in a ditch at 7:41 a.m. the next day. Chou’s hands were allegedly zip-tied to the car’s steering wheel while her children’s faces were duct-taped and their hands were zip-tied in the back of the car.
The witness reportedly instructed another person to contact 911. Chou told authorities after they arrived at the scene that she had zip-tied her hands and duct-taped her head.
“We need a cop and medical personnel. Send someone immediately as fast as possible,” the caller told the dispatcher. “There is a baby in the backseat of the car with duct tape on its face. Get an EMT please, immediately. The baby’s not responsive. Hurry, please hurry.”
“I don’t think she’s in a good mental state. She tied herself to the steering wheel, and she has duct tape around her head,” the caller continued.
Two other passersby also stopped to tell the dispatcher to hurry. Chou’s children were reportedly found dead after the first responders arrived.
Following her arrest, Chou provided more details and confessed to killing her children. She admitted that she had planned the murder of her children for around a week. She told the police that she took her children out for lunch and then went to a True Value hardware store to buy the duct tape and zip ties.
Chou said she started putting duct tape on her daughter’s face outside a sports facility on Mountainview Road, but after getting “spooked” by a bystander, she drove to a hunting area with a dirt driveway to commit the crime.
She then climbed to the back of her car to bind her children’s hands with zip ties and place duct tape on their faces before strangling them to death.
Authorities have yet to find a motive behind the killing, but they are looking into a pending divorce and post-partum depression as potential reasons.
During a virtual hearing, Chou, who said she was not an American citizen but a Taiwanese citizen, remained expressionless and only spoke a few times during the 15-minute process. While she has no criminal record, the judge said she faced a domestic violence charge stemming from an act of harassment in early 2021.
Chou’s psychiatric evaluation is expected to be completed this week. She is currently being held in Somerset County Jail with her bail denied.
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