WORCESTER — A 27-year-old man was charged Wednesday in the fatal shooting of a woman whose body was discovered Tuesday in the Auburn Mall parking garage.
Vu Van Ngo was arraigned in Central District Court on charges of homicide and misleading a police investigation in the death of Nhung Nguyen of Worcester. Police said that Nguyen’s daughter told them Ngo drove her mother to and from her job each day at the Worcester Envelope Co. in Auburn.
Judge Steven E. Thomas entered not-guilty pleas on Ngo’s behalf and ordered that he be held without bail. The judge continued Ngo’s case to March 19.
According to a statement filed in court by investigators, Auburn police received an emergency call shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday that a woman who was bleeding and unresponsive had been found partially under a vehicle parked on the ground level in a parking deck at the Auburn Mall.
Nguyen, 46, was taken by ambulance to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, where she was pronounced dead.
Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey T. Travers told Thomas that Nguyen’s injuries were consistent with a homicide and that a .22-caliber shell casing had been found near her body.
A joint investigation by State Police detectives assigned to the office of Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. and Auburn police revealed that Nguyen worked at Worcester Envelope, a short distance from the mall, the police statement said.
Officer Vincent S. Ross said he spoke to Ngo on the telephone and he volunteered to come to the Auburn station to speak to investigators. Under questioning by Officer Ross and Trooper Kevin Dwyer, Ngo said he drove Nguyen to work Tuesday and left work with her later in the day with the intent of driving her home, according to authorities.
Ngo initially said he drove directly from Worcester Envelope to Freeland Street, without making any stops, according to police. About an hour later, he allegedly admitted stopping in the parking lot of the Auburn Mall with Nguyen, Ross’s court filing said.
Police said the admission came only after Ngo learned that a witness had seen a vehicle identical to his, with a lone male occupant fitting his description, being driven erratically from the mall during the snowstorm.
The mall garage does not have video surveillance, but Auburn Police Chief Andrew J. Sluckis believes Nguyen was shot at the mall.
The prosecutor also said that investigators recovered what was believed to be blood evidence from Ngo’s vehicle and a .22-caliber weapon from his house.
Thomas Caywood and Linda Bock of the Telegram & Gazette contributed to this report.