Family of slain fruit vendor Don Ly seeks answers, gets silence

Don Ly Murder Remains Unsolved
Nary Ly lights a candle at a memorial to her father outside the family home.
Credit: Charles Mostoller/Metro

It’s been more than four months since popular fruit cart vendor and hardworking father of four Don Ly, 68, was stabbed to death outside his South Philadelphia home as he prepared for work, a senseless slaying with no apparent motive.

“It’s been silence,” Ly’s son Hoanh Ly said Tuesday at the family home on Vollmer Street. ”It’s been horrible. We just expected somebody to come forward but so far, nothing.”

Ly’s daughter Nary Ly said the crime – and its lack of resolution – has taken a harsh toll on her family.

Don Ly Murder Remains Unsolved
Nary Ly broke down into tears as she discussed memories of her slain father.
Credit: Charles Mostoller/Metro

Each day, as Nary rounds the hallway into the living room, she expects to see Don nestled in his regularly appointed spot in the corner of a well-worn sectional.

“No matter what, I come in and I always look for my dad to be sitting there,” she said.

“We miss him so hard, I don’t know what to do. I open the closet, see his clothes, I smell his clothes–”

Nary’s voice broke as she dissolved into tears.

She said Don’s death has been especially hard on Saruong, her mother and Don’s wife of 42 years.

“My mother used to say thousands of words a day,” she said. ”Now she says maybe 50.”

She said Saruong stopped eating and has dropped about 50 percent of her body weight since the murder.

“She has talked about ending her life so she can be with him,” Nary said.

“But she still has us children.”

‘We never expected this’

Don Ly Murder Remains Unsolved
Nary and Hoanh Ly with a portrait of their late father Don.
Credit: Charles Mostoller/Metro

As commemorated in a heart-wrenching blog maintained by Don’s youngest son, Don Ly was a senior Buddhist monk, then a communication liaison police officer in Vietnam before immigrating in 1990 to America, where he worked tirelessly to build a life for himself and to support his family.

“He worked very hard,” Nary said.

“I always asked him before, I said, ‘Daddy, when will you retire?’ He’d say, ‘I still can work so I just go to work. I always want to go to work. I don’t want to say home and do nothing.’ He wanted to help the family until to that moment, to the last minute.”

Hoanh said he and his siblings believed Don would soon stop working so they could take care of him, as he had taken care of them for so many years.

“All the plans are gone – we never expected this,” Hoanh said.

Suspect with a face but no name

Don Ly Murder Remains Unsolved
A memorial to Don Ly outside the family home.
Credit: Charles Mostoller/Metro

Police in May released surveillance footage showing a suspect in the brutal crime.

Hoanh said he watches it often, but mostly to see how many people have viewed the YouTube video.

“I know the guy’s somewhere,” he said. ”He probably sleeps somewhere. He must have a brother, sister, a parent somewhere that know him and they’re actually hiding him.”

The Citizen’s Crime Commission has added $5,000 to the city’s standard $20,000 reward for information leading to homicide convictions, but investigators said tips have so far been fruitless.

Don’s family in the meantime agonizes over the fact the suspect remains free on the street.

“He does not deserve to sleep on the bed just like we are,” Hoanh said.

“He does not deserve to eat the food just like we are. He deserves to eat the food in the prison, prison food in a prison cell, prison bed, that’s what he deserves. And we don’t know who he is and where he is.”

See something?

Take a good look at the suspect in Don Ly’s slaying, shown below in surveillance video released by police.

Anyone with information about the suspect or crime is asked to call 911, to contact the Homicide Unit at 215-686-3334 or 3335, or to submit an anonymous tip by dialing 215-686-TIPS (8477), texting PPD TIP (773847), emailing tips@phillypolice.com or by filling out this online form.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

Local

New York-based Century 21 store coming to The…

The former Strawbridge & Clothier building will once again host a department store. City officials on Thursday announced New York-based Century 21 Department Stores will…

National

Electric Zoo tickets on sale Tuesday as festival…

Electric Zoo tickets go on sale Tuesday. The festival announced plans to amp up security after two attendees died last year from apparent drug overdoses.

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

Movies

Tribeca: Nikki Reed on going funny for a…

"Intramural" star Nikki Reed talks about being the straight person in a broad comedy, spending time in Austin and how "Thirteen" was a "miracle."

Movies

Interview: 'The Quiet Ones' star Sam Claflin on…

"Hunger Games" co-star Sam Claflin talks about his new horror film "The Quiet Ones," plus how technology connects him with fans.

MLB

The return of Cole Hamels brings optimism

Cole Hamels’ quality start Wednesday was a nice change of pace from his recent season debuts.

MLB

Tony Gwynn Jr. a nice surprise for Phillies

Tony Gwynn Jr. has been a plus in every way for the Phillies.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

5 infamous pitcher ejections for cheating

Never fear Yankees fans, Michael Pineda is far from the first MLB pitcher to be thrown out of a game for cheating.

Food

Hai Street Kitchen opening in Rittenhouse May 22

Japanese cuisine will get a Chipotle-style twist at Hai Street Kitchen & Co., a new casual, quick-food restaurant opening near Rittenhouse Square on May 22.…

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.