A Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate student wanted as a person of interest in the slaying of a Yale graduate student allegedly stole an SUV on the day of the murder, authorities said in a report Sunday.
Qinxuan Pan — wanted in connection with the killing of 26-year-old Kevin Jiang earlier this month — is accused of swiping a blue GMC Terrain from a Massachusetts car dealership then switching its license plate for a Connecticut one to “conceal the identity” of the vehicle, according to the New Haven Register.
The 29-year-old, whose last known address was in Malden, Massachusetts, allegedly asked to test drive the vehicle on Feb. 6 — the same day Kevin Jiang was killed — at a local dealership but never returned the ride, according to the paper, which cited a police report.
A local car salesman said Pan asked to take the SUV to a mechanic for an inspection at around 11 a.m. and later asked for more time, citing a family emergency, according to police.
But when he stopped responding to texts, the salesman reported the SUV missing at around 7:30 p.m., according to the report.
Cops then went to Pan’s home, where a relative reportedly told officers Pan had “changed his cell phone number and wouldn’t tell them where he was.”
By 10:45 p.m. the SUV was discovered abandoned on a railroad track in North Haven, Connecticut, the city where Yale is located.
A national manhunt for Pan has since ensued, with a $10,000 reward being offered by federal officials.
Pan was last was seen in Georgia and could be staying with friends in Duluth or Brookhaven areas of that state, according to U.S. Marshals Office for Connecticut,
Jiang, a graduate student enrolled in Yale’s School of the Environment, was shot dead on a street in New Haven’s East Rock section on Feb. 6.
The alleged car theft incident was used by cops in Attleboro District Courthouse of Massachusetts in an attempt to get a warrant for Pan’s arrest on a larceny charge, the paper reported.
Pan has also been charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution and interstate theft of a vehicle.