Breaking News
More () »

Detectives continue to investigate 1998 killing of pregnant Tacoma woman and her two kids

Linda Tran and her children were killed in their home, which was then set on fire. The Unsolved Northwest team talked to detectives and family in search for answers.

TACOMA, Wash. — In 1998, a pregnant mother and her two young children were beaten inside their Tacoma home, which was then lit on fire.

Linda Tran's family is still searching for answers about the murders over 20 years later.

"Linda was incredibly amazing," her cousin Hannah Scoccolo said. "She came over here as a little girl from Vietnam."

Linda's father, Kiet Tran remembers his daughter as a good person who treated people right.

"She was a lovely daughter. The time she was born I jumped up and down and I have my first girl and she was so sweet," Kiet said.

Linda's family doesn't know of anyone who would have wanted to hurt her.

"We talked a lot and she never once mentioned feeling threatened," Scoccolo said.

Credit: Tran Family
Linda Tran

Day of the attack

On Dec. 18, 1998, Linda Tran, who was seven months pregnant, and her two kids 1-year-old Austin and 9-year-old Patricia, were at her father’s home when she got a phone call. 

Linda told her cousin she got a call from someone saying they had Christmas presents for her kids and asked her to meet them at Linda's house. She didn't say who the caller was.

That was the last time her family saw her alive.

"Every time we talk about this subject or Linda, we share happy thoughts but we know the end result isn’t there," Scoccolo said. "We don’t have closure."

When Linda and her children arrived at their house, someone lured them inside. This person was seen outside yelling with a baseball bat. A short time later, the home exploded, and that same person was seen running away into a getaway car.

The bat believed to have been used in the murder was recovered by detectives and was sent in for DNA testing but no leads came from it.

Retired Tacoma Police Detective Bob Yerbury was called to the scene that night. 

Credit: newspapers.com
Tacoma Police Detective Bob Yerbury at the crime scene

Yerbury said the scene was extensive, but unfortunately, the fire destroyed most of the evidence.

"When I arrived, the fire was under control and there was all of the medical people, police personnel, it was a very chaotic scene and that adds a level of confusion to things," he said.

Yerbury described the explosion as "very violent." It separated the roof from the inner walls and caused a large fire.

Possible suspects

Detectives are still using this composite sketch and have ruled out several possible suspects. 

Credit: newspapers.com
Composite sketch of the man seen yelling outside Linda Tran's house while waving a baseball bat.

They are also exploring what happened to Linda the night before she was murdered. 

"She had called me around 8 p.m. that night and she said the back window was broken. At the time, we figured it was random attempted burglary so we didn’t think much of it," Scoccolo said.

Detectives think it might be connected.

"It is possible somebody wanted to send a message or lay in wait," Yerbury said.

Twenty-four years later, the case is in the hands of a new detective. Julie Dier with the Tacoma Police Department thinks the case is solvable.

"There’s someone who knows something. I believe this is not random," Dier said. "It comes down to somebody talking."

The Tran family is hoping someone can come forward to help them.   

"I wish somebody out there knows something please please call the police Tacoma. Because my family is suffering because my daughter was murdered. Not only me, my wife, kids, sister, niece. Suffering," Linda's father said.

Credit: newspapers.com
In Memoriam: Linda, Patricia and Austin Tran

The family has created a GoFundMe and funds will go towards solving the case. You can find it, here.

Missing person cases, murders and other mysteries are solvable. To submit a tip to the KING 5 Unsolved Northwest team, click here or fill out the form below.

Before You Leave, Check This Out