Glitzy Fugitive Couple Nabbed in ‘Extremely Brutal’ Murder Case

·4 min read
Handout/Hamilton Police
Handout/Hamilton Police

After a three-month-long manhunt, the glamorous daughter of a prominent Canadian businesswoman and her boyfriend were finally arrested in connection to a February shooting that killed a 39-year-old man and left his pregnant fiancée fighting for her life in a hospital.

Yun “Lucy” Lu Li, 25, and her partner Oliver Karafa, 28, fled Canada by boarding a flight to Eastern Europe just a day after the incident. According to Hamilton law enforcement, they traveled through Slovakia, Karafa’s home country, and the Czech Republic before landing in Budapest, Hungary, where Canadian authorities honed in on them with the help of their European counterparts on Saturday.

The duo are suspects in the murder of Tyler Pratt, a father of three who was shot and killed at a home in the Canadian city of Hamilton on Feb. 28, according to Hamilton police. Pratt’s fiancée, a 26-year-old woman, was seriously injured and hospitalized after the incident.

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Pratt’s mother, Jonni Yeomans, told The Daily Beast that her son’s fiancée was pregnant at the time, and lost the baby due to her injuries. “We’ve gone through a devastating time,” said Yeomans, who described the tragedy as an “extremely brutal murder case.” “We’ve lost a grandbaby through it, as well as our son. She was expecting. So it’s been very devastating for us.”

Yeomans described her late son as an “incredible” person and a “phenomenal” father. “He was very much an entrepreneur, very much family-focused, he loved his children,” she said. “So there’s been great loss for all of us, but I really feel like he left an amazing legacy and poured so much love into all of us. So we’re all really grateful for that.”

Police have not yet released details on the motive behind the attack, saying only that the victims and suspected perpetrators were known to each other before the incident took place.

Li, as her Instagram account seemed to suggest, is a social media influencer. Photos from her accounts, which have since been taken down, show her posing in photoshoots with her triplet sisters—one of whom is a former Miss World Toronto contestant—clad in matching dresses, lingerie and swimwear.

Li’s mother, Winnie Liao, who runs Toronto-based asset management firm Respon International Group, has reportedly organized high-profile fundraising events, and is featured in photos with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford on the company’s website.

“We are deeply shocked, disturbed and puzzled by Lucy’s involvement in the unfortunate incident,” read a statement from the family to a Chinese news outlet, translated by The National Post.

This isn’t the first time Li’s boyfriend, Karafa, has been implicated in the death of another person. Karafa was sentenced to five years in prison in 2014 for his role in a drunk driving incident that killed 24-year-old David Chiang. “Our home is now broken and missing a vital piece of our family,” Chiang’s sister said in a statement at the time.

Both Li and Karafa have been charged with first degree murder and attempted murder in connection with the shooting, and are now facing extradition to Canada.

“We’ve been working since the incident of the shooting, not only domestically with our partners with the RCMP, but internationally through Interpol and our police agencies in Eastern Europe, specifically the Hungarian Active Search Team,” Hamilton Detective Jim Callender said in a press briefing about the fugitives on Monday.

“I think there is a desire for the investigative team, you see the satisfaction on the team,” he said. “But that is just amplified once you can see the faces of the surviving victim and hear the voices of the family that’s in B.C.”

According to Yeomans, the arrest of the suspects coincides with the birthday of Pratt’s sister, Abra.

“It was three months after the tragedy, and it was on his sister’s 26th birthday. So what a beautiful birthday gift that they were apprehended on her birthday,” she told The Daily Beast. “I’m also a minister,” she added, “So we’ve had to go through a journey of having to forgive them, so for us it’s been an answer to prayer.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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