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Slain Long Beach woman was well-known in Lao-Cambodian community

The body of Leam Sovanasy, 76, a devout Buddhist and grandmother of 25, was found at her home Saturday. She was stabbed to death.

February 03, 2009|Corina Knoll

A 76-year-old woman stabbed to death in her Long Beach home was a well-known figure in the Cambodian and Laotian communities, her son said Monday.

The body of Leam Sovanasy, who lived with relatives in the 1400 block of Peterson Avenue, was discovered by a relative about 11 a.m. Saturday, police said. She had been stabbed multiple times in her upper body. Sovanasy was ethnically Laotian but born in Cambodia, said her son, who asked not to be named.

She arrived in the United States with seven children more than 20 years ago. Many other families from her village have since immigrated to Long Beach, forming what Sovanasy's nephew, Sam Bunlot, called a local Lao-Cambodian community.

"Most of us, we know each other," said Bunlot, 40. "She's one of the elders, so she's very popular."

Grieving family members said they had no idea why Sovanasy, a grandmother of 25, would be attacked in her home. Investigators are trying to determine a motive for the killing, said Lisa Massacani, a police spokeswoman.

Sovanasy attended services at Cambodian Buddhist Temple in Long Beach four to five times a week, monks said through a translator.

"She devoted her life to Buddhism," Bunlot said. "All she did was try to be a good person."

Long Beach police ask that anyone with information about the case call homicide Dets. Russ Moss or Teri Hubert at (562) 570-7244.

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corina.knoll@latimes.com

Times staff writer Joanna Lin contributed to this report.

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