Sixty-five-year-old Paula Chin, a mother and a business woman who lived in Tribeca, was reported missing on Monday, February 4. Her body was found in New Jersey on Tuesday. Her 22-year-old son, Jared Eng, is currently being held without bail on counts of tampering with evidence and concealment of a corpse, the New York Times reports; he is also the prime suspect in her killing. Two others, whom Eng has identified as girlfriends, have also been charged with helping him cover up his mother’s murder.
Detectives say they believe the motive for the murder was financial. (Eng and his brother were set to inherit an “undisclosed amount” of money from their father, who died in 2008, when they turned 35, according to the New York Post.) Eng has denied any role in the crime, though he acknowledged fighting with his mother in the hours before she was killed; he reportedly maintains the fight was about her health, not money. When reporters asked if he had killed his mother on Wednesday morning as he was led out of police questioning, per the Times, he responded, “I did not. I loved her. She gave me everything.”
Two women — 21-year-old Caitlyn O’Rourke and 18-year-old Jennifer Lopez, whom Eng has both described as girlfriends — are accused of helping Eng after he allegedly killed his mother. (He told the Post that he is polyamorous.) Lopez allegedly drove Chin’s Toyota Land Cruiser from Tribeca to Morristown so that she and Eng could dispose of his mother’s body there.
According to the New York Times, O’Rourke told police that Eng called her after Chin’s death, and said that his mother “took a while to die.” Lopez is being charged with helping to move the body; the criminal complaint filed against the three points to security camera footage that shows someone moving the Land Cruiser in front of Chin’s building, and another person putting a duffel bag inside the car. The timestamps on the footage reads 2:31 a.m., on January 31.
After they moved Chin’s body, Lopez reportedly texted O’Rourke, “It’s all clean, the hardest part was backing up the car.” In a confession, O’Rourke reportedly said that the three then drove to New Jersey on February 1 to finish disposing of Chin’s body, and wash clothing from the crime scene.
Police said they found bloody rubber gloves in both the New Jersey and Tribeca residences, along with blood stains and traces on the floor. They also found blood on the carpet of the Land Cruiser, as well as a blanket and duct tape. According to the Daily Beast, prosecutors called the work an “unsuccessful crime scene cleanup.”
O’Rourke is currently being held on $50,000 bail; Lopez’s bail is set at $100,000. According to Vice, O’Rourke’s attorney maintains that “There is no suggestion that my client had anything to do with a more serious crime. This woman is a young person in a terrible situation.” Lopez’s attorney also denies that she had anything to do with Chin’s actual murder, the Poughkeepsie Journal notes.
Chin was last seen by her elder son Brandon Eng on January 30; he filed a missing persons report four days later. He told the Daily Beast, “I am in shock and disbelief. I can’t believe the last time I saw my mom was the day she died. Honestly, I don’t know what to believe and my family is hoping for some privacy at this time.”