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Locals react to reports of child deaths

Former resident accused of throwing kids from bridge

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POSTED: January 26, 2008 5:02 a.m.
As the search for the bodies of four children continues in Alabama, the people who live in the Victory Village MHP in Hinesville were reacting to the news that a former neighbor, Lam Luong, had confessed to throwing the youngsters off a bridge in Bayou Batre.
“It’s just unbelievable, Linda More, a resident at Victory Village for the last six months, said. “I’m still afraid. I have a baby and my niece lives here with me and to think they lived right here. You just don’t know who you can trust and who you live next to and this situation is a perfect example of that.
“After he threw in the first one you would think he would have cried out for help or something should have clicked in his mind. I still don’t believe he actually did it.  I just don’t want to believe he was capable of doing such a thing until they find the bodies. Maybe he traded the kids for drugs and told his wife a lie. I know he said he did it but I’m just hoping.”
James Drayton, who lives in the mobile home next to where Luong and his wife Kieu Ngoc Phan lived, said he couldn’t understand why someone would do that to children.
“She was always tending to the kids and she would play with them outside and he seemed like a low key type person, moderately dressed. I have three girls myself and I love my kids. You know you have problems in your marriage. That’s one thing. But to do what he did to those kids that’s just mind blowing it took me by storm to hear the news.”
More said she knew Luong had a drug problem and remembers seeing the police in front of her neighbor’s house.
According to an incident report filed by Hinesville Police Office Jeffrey Liu, Luong called the police on Oct. 10 to turn himself in. After buying drugs in Savannah, Luong was hoping officers would help him get treatment for his addiction.
When police arrived Phan met with the officers and moments later confessed to buying and smoking a drug. He told officers he did not have any drugs on him, but when asked to empty his pockets officers found a crack pipe and three small rocks that later tested positive for crack cocaine.
The investigation was turned over to the Multi Agency Crack Enforcement Drug Task Force and Luong was charged with possession of cocaine, a felony. He bonded out two days later on a $1,200 bond.
According to the Hinesville Police Department the only other record on file for Luong within the county was a citation for driving with a suspended license. A grand jury was to review the possession case next month.
The Associated Press reported that Luong had advised Hinesville authorities that he and his family had moved to Alabama in November.
And they paid their bills.
“They left owing some money for the rent, but she later paid everything in full,” said a spokesperson for landlord Dennis Waters and Associates, who asked to remain anonymous. “The lease was in her name and I didn’t know anything about him.”
The spokesperson added he believed Phan worked at a local nail salon in Hinesville and expressed disbelief and sorrow at the news regarding the children.
MACE unit commander Al Cato said Luong reported he worked as a cook, although it was unclear whether it was in Hinesville or Savannah.
Luong now faces four counts of capital murder after confessing to authorities that he threw the four children off the Dauphin Island bridge after arguing with this wife.
The Associated Press reported that District Judge Charles McKnight denied bond Thursday morning, describing the allegations as “heinous.
 

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