L.On Thursday, Christopher Collins called the Texas police from a gym and asked them to do a social check-up. His wife Yuanhua Liang wrote to him about a burglar in her home, he said, and now he cannot reach her.
The 41-year-old husband – a freelance graphic designer and financial advisor according to his various social media profiles – reportedly told police officers that he didn’t rush home because Liang could be paranoid at times. When Collins met Harris County MPs at the couple’s home, they found Liang shot dead in the living room.
Now Collins is charged with her murder, and investigators say he went “great efforts” to make it look like someone else killed her. According to prosecutors at a hearing on Thanksgiving morning, Collins told officials that he and Liang were not storing any guns or “live ammunition.” He also claimed they didn’t have life insurance.
But the authorities searching the property found a $ 250,000 life insurance policy document on a desk. Collins and Liang had signed the paperwork on November 16, just two days before Liang’s alleged murder, ABC13 reported in Houston.
During Thursday’s hearing, prosecutors said that Liang’s body was found with a sleeping mask on her face and a bag tied around her head. They suggested that when an accused murderer has a “personal relationship” with his target, he “doesn’t want to see his face when he dies”.
Collins quickly became a suspect, police said, because several aspects of his story did not fit together. They said the couple’s home showed no sign of intrusion and surveillance footage from the gym showed Collins pacing the facility for 45 minutes and then exercising for 5 minutes after receiving his wife’s urgent message. The video then showed Collins talking on the phone in the gym cafe.
The husband allegedly told officers that his house had security cameras, but he didn’t think about checking them when his wife complained about a burglar.
Meanwhile, police discovered Liang’s wallet and cosmetic bag in Collins’ locker at the gym, which was opened by a member of the fitness center. Prior to this discovery, Collins allegedly reported Liang’s paperback missing.
Authorities say they also found a .22 caliber cartridge in Collins’ pocket and that Liang was shot with a similar small-caliber weapon.
Representatives from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office interviewed Collins again on Wednesday before arresting him in connection with Liang’s murder.
Collins was absent at his hearing the next day, Click 2 Houston reported, because he was in the mental health department of the detention center. A judge set Collins’s bail at $ 150,000 and rescheduled for a follow-up trial Monday.
A reporter from Click 2 Houston said she spoke to Collins shortly after Liang died, but “he was very upset and asked for privacy”.
At a press conference last week, Sgt. Ben Beall of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said two weeks before the alleged murder, MPs were called into the couple’s home after someone reported an intruder on their property.
“At this point it appears to be a traumatic death,” said Beall. “We’re questioning neighbors and looking for other witnesses out here.”
Liang, 46, appeared to be walking on “Kiki” on social media. She and Collins have been active on TikTok and Instagram where they kept accounts for their dog Coco and another handle titled “kikiandchrisyoga” with a bio that says, “Husband and Wife. To do yoga. Live green. Live healthy. Raise chickens. Love your body! “
On November 15, Collins shared his illustration work on TikTok with a caption that read, “Still trying to raise money for the family. Please hire me. ”A month earlier, Collins showed a drawing of his wife that had been designed with a text background that read,“ Trust yourself above all else. ”
The couple also created a GoFundMe page and website called TheTommyFoundation.com to raise funds for their kitten that they said needed surgery. “We have cared for and raised over 20 animals in the past 5 years,” the website says, adding, “The website is new and will continue to evolve over time as our foundation will help more and more fur babies across the country . Please consider donating whatever you can. All of this helps. Every penny. “
Another website, DenverTheBear.com, links to Collins’ Instagram account and appears to be a fashion company run by the accused killer. The streetwear site mentions him by the nickname “Slippyninja Collins” and says he is “an artist from outside Boston” and “a disabled veterinarian and two times cancer survivor”.
“He has traveled all over the world and met with elites all over the world,” the website says. “He’s been a designer for years and is now switching to the designer shoe game.”
Police reports suggest that Collins may have had financial problems lately.
After his wife was fatally shot, Collins reportedly told detectives that his vehicle had been confiscated and that he was currently driving a rental car.
Liang appeared to be supporting Collins in her posts on TikTok, including promoting his Denver The Bear sneaker designs, which Collins was promoting as Made in Italy. “Folks, my husband released his high-end shoe brand,” she wrote in a March post with a GIF that stated, “Success takes practice.”
A month earlier, Liang shared a TikTok slideshow that said, “We have been on a strict diet since my husband got sick.” Describing her use of intermittent fasting and anti-inflammatory foods, she added, “He is now 34 pounds lost weight and is healthy despite the chemo. And the best news is that we’ve seen a 70 percent reduction in tumor size. “
“Now we are moving forward. Continue our journey of health, ”she wrote. “Thanks everyone for their support.”
In a January TikTok, Liang wrote: “I was training until 2 months ago. Every day. Then. My husband has cancer. Everything has changed.”
Her caption read: “40s and our lives are just beginning. New health. New life.”