Investigation Discovery is examining the case of single mom and sex worker Ashley Benson, who was tragically murdered on Christmas Day in 2014.
On December 26, 2014, the remains of 24-year-old Ashley Benson were discovered in a stairwell of the DoubleTree Hotel in Northeast Portland. She had been strangled to death.
Her killer, Tae Bum Yoon, had checked into the hotel the day before on Christmas Day. He used a reservation booked by another Washington state man called Chris Youn.
Chris Youn was a DJ who was traveling to Portland on the 26th to perform a set. He was completely unaware that on the 25th, Yoon assumed his identity and checked into his room early. Yoon did have the desk clerk change the name from Youn to Yoon.
On the night of the 25th, Yoon arranged for Benson to come to his hotel room to engage in sex for money.
Yoon had traveled down from Bellevue to Portland in the past to use Benson’s services. He later claimed that the two had become friendly with each other. However, on this occasion, they had gotten into an argument over payment.
The row escalated, and Yoon ended up strangling the young woman with his bare hands. Ashley was later found lying in the stairwell without any shoes or socks.
After the murder, Yoon fled the DoubleTree and attempted to check into another hotel. However, the clerk refused to give him a room as he failed to produce a credit card and insisted on paying in cash.
The clerk later told the police that Yoon had appeared injured and had told him he’d been in a fight.
When the real Chris Youn arrived at the hotel to check-in, he was questioned by homicide detectives. The police were quick to ascertain that Youn had nothing to do with the murder and that they needed to locate the imposter from the day before.
The police tracked Yoon through cellphone records
The police found an email from Yoon to Ashley on her cellphone. They were eventually able to track down the killer by using cellphone records. There had been 25 text messages between his phone and Ashley’s on December 25.
The Portland police got a further break when they learned on January 7 that Yoon was back in the city. He was subsequently arrested at Union Station and charged with murder.
Further investigation by the police revealed that Yoon was heavily involved in cocaine trafficking and did not have permanent employment.
The police also learned that Ashley Benson had been an intelligent single mother who had been ensnared by a vicious pimp.
Yoon was convicted of murder and was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
More from Investigation Discovery
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Marilyn McIntyre was an 18-year-old mother of a 3-month-old baby boy when her husband found her lying dead on the floor of their home with a knife sticking out of her chest. The case lay cold for two decades until a friend of Marilyn’s husband, Curtis Forbes, was arrested and jailed.
In 2009, Greg Cook went on a murder spree in rural Oregon. He first killed and dismembered Shannon McKillop and left her head in a canvas bag before luring Frank Sccaramuzzi and Jeremiah Johnston into the woods and killing them. He then fled the state with his terrified girlfriend sparking off a search.
Her Last Christmas airs at 11/10c on Investigation Discovery.
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