Mother missing since 2002

Mother missing since 2002
Photo by Rebecca Henely
By Rebecca Henely

City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and former Elmhurst resident Jena Liang called upon the NYPD last week to reinvestigate the 2002 disappearance and possible murder of her mother, 52-year-old Lian Fang Feng.

Liang said she found her mother missing and blood inside the apartment they shared July 19, 2002, and since then has made multiple inquiries to the Police Department and Queens district attorney’s office that have mostly fallen on deaf ears.

“For nine years my family and I have suffered a great deal of pain and grief because we do not know what happened to my mother,” Liang said.

An NYPD spokeswoman said in an e-mail Feng’s disappearance is an active, ongoing case being investigated by Queens Homicide.

But when Liang stood with the councilman and Stewart Pollak, her Roslyn Heights lawyer, in front of her old home at 87-36 52nd Ave. at a news conference Nov. 2, she said the legal system had left her feeling shut out.

“She put her faith in the system and the system did not work for her,” Dromm said.

Liang, who now lives in Manhattan and works in the financial industry, said she and Feng moved to New York from China in 1984. At the time of Feng’s disappearance, she had been married to a Roger Hui, Liang’s stepfather, and had been going through what Liang characterized as an “unfriendly divorce.” While all three of them lived in the house, Hui lived on the first floor while Liang and Feng lived on the second.

When Liang came home the day her mother disappeared, she found traces of blood throughout the apartment. Hui was not home and there was no sign of forced entry, Liang said.

Feng said while officers from the 110th Precinct took evidence, the detective assigned to the case retired soon after and her calls to the department throughout the last nine years got little response. She at one point was calling an assistant Queens district attorney for help, but was later told to stop calling.

A spokeswoman for the DA’s office said in response that the office cannot handle the case until there is an arrest.

While there was no body, Liang said she believes her mother was murdered because her wallet and passport were left untouched and no money was withdrawn from their joint account.

“She’s a homebody,” Liang said of her mother, who does not speak English. “She doesn’t go out. She doesn’t play mah-jongg.”

She also said she believes her stepfather was involved with Feng’s disappearance as he was the beneficiary of a $1 million life insurance policy on Feng’s life and they co-owned a house in Whitestone, which was later sold. Feng’s profits from the sale are being held in escrow by New York City.

In 2008, Hui moved to have Feng declared legally dead in surrogate court. Liang and Pollack filed counterclaims and subpoenaed the NYPD’s records, but received a small file with photographs and some notes, which described physical evidence not found in the file. When they asked about it, an investigator told them the evidence had been destroyed in a flood, she said.

A spokeswoman from the NYPD denied evidence had been destroyed.

Liang said she was thankful to the councilman, whom she contacted this past July, for helping her with the investigation.

”She should be able to put this terrible ordeal behind her already,” Pollak said of Liang.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4564.

More from Around New York