New Details Emerge In Death Of Sen. McConnell’s Sister-In-Law

March 26, 2024   |   Tags:
New Details Emerge In Death Of Sen. McConnell's Sister-In-Law

Authored by Steve Ispas and Lear Zhou via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Angela Chao, the sister-in-law of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), died on Feb. 11 after backing her vehicle into a pond.

Angela Chao, CEO and chair of her family's shipping business, the Foremost Group, in this undated photo. (Courtesy of Foremost Group via AP)

More details have since emerged, including that Ms. Chao was on the phone with a friend for eight minutes after her car hit the pond and was sinking, according to the Blanco County Sheriff’s incident report obtained by The Epoch Times.

The report also revealed Ms. Chao had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.233 percent, almost three times higher than the legal threshold of 0.08 percent for driving in Texas.

Ms. Chao, 50, was CEO of the U.S.-based family business, Foremost Group, and a previous top executive for a Chinese shipping giant and board member of China’s World Bank.

On February 10, Ms. Chao and seven female friends—many with home addresses in New York—had gathered for dinner and drinks at the guest lodge located on Ms. Chao’s private ranch, JW Ranch, in Blanco County, Texas.

“They had good conversation throughout the night and all were in good spirits,” the incident report states, according to statements from those present.

As the evening wrapped up, Ms. Chao decided to drive to the main lodge rather than take the short walk from the guest house.

Security cameras on the exterior of the lodge captured the moment Ms. Chao drove her car into the pond, according to two videos from different angles that were provided to investigators by the property manager.

The video from the south side camera shows Ms. Chao come into view alone at 11:37:02 p.m. as she “continues to walk unsteadily to her vehicle while continuing to hold her cellular phone in her right hand,” the police report states.

At 11:38:06 p.m. the vehicle lurches forward toward a wooden barrier, then reverses to the left and over the top of a limestone block wall, entering the water at 11:38:15 p.m.

The video from the west side camera showed the vehicle floating and spinning after entering water, at 11:41:52 pm the headlight disappears and reappears at 11:42:37 pm.

The report says at approximately 11:42 pm, Ms. Chao’s friend Amber Landeau-Keinan received a telephone call from Ms. Chao, who told her “in a calm voice” that she was in the “lake,” which was a stock tank, or pond, near the guest house.

Ms. Chao said she had put the car, a 2020 Tesla model X SUV, in reverse instead of drive while making a three-point turn.

A Tesla Model X is displayed during an event in Indian Wells, Calif., on March 5, 2018. (Rich Fury/Getty Images for AYS Sports Marketing)

At the time, Ms. Landeau-Keinan was in bed, and as she remained on the phone with Ms. Chao, she got dressed, and knocked on Heela Tsuzuki’s door who was in the next room, to inform her that Ms. Chao was in the pond, the report states.

The west side camera captures Ms. Landeau-Keinan rushing outside to look for the vehicle at 11:43:21 p.m., while on the phone with Ms. Chao.

She told Ms. Chao to get out of the vehicle after Ms. Chao said her feet were under water.

Ms. Chao informs Ms. Landeau-Keinan she’s not able to get out of the vehicle, the report states. Ms. Chao told Landeau-Keinan the water was rising and she was going to die and said “I love you” prior to the vehicle submerging, the report states.

Another friend, Victoria Garcia, got into the water and swam to the vehicle, while Ms. Landeau-Keinan got into a kayak and paddled toward the vehicle.

Ms. Tsuzuki notified others about the incident. She tried multiple times to find the ranch manager, Michael Galster and his wife Hill, for assistance, and called 911 but she couldn’t provide the exact location due to a poor carrier signal.

Call records from AT&T per a subpoena recorded the time of the first 911 call at 11:47:59 p.m., the police report notes.

The next 911 call, that provided the location, was made at 11:52:53 pm, and by this time Mr. Galster had been located.

Dispatch called a rescue team at 11:53.04 p.m., and two sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene at 12:10 a.m.

When Blanco County Sheriff’s deputy Ryan Bible arrived, he saw the manager standing on top of the “fully submerged vehicle located in the [stock] tank about 25 yards from the north bank,” and “a female in a red dress on a kayak paddling toward the shore,” according to his statement.

When the medic team arrived at 12:12 a.m., Mr. Bible and deputy Randall Mathew entered the water trying to locate the entrapped Ms. Chao.

Mr. Galster told them the back passenger door of the vehicle was open, and the two deputies attempted multiple times to get to Ms. Chao through that door but were unable to.

During our time in the water there were several females screaming at us frantically on the bank.” Mr. Bible wrote in his statement.

Mr. Bible swam back to shore to retrieve a breaker bar and tried to break the windshield but failed. With the help of two medics, he eventually broke the driver’s side window.

Once the window was busted I swam down and felt a hand.” Mr. Bible said.

“Medic Ben Collie then was able to pull the hand out from the vehicle and we were then able to extract the female from the vehicle,” he wrote.

Ms. Chao was out of the water at 12:56 a.m., 1 hour and 8 minutes after the car plunged into the pond. She was pronounced dead at 1:40 a.m.

Lt. Adam Acosta, an investigator with the Sheriff’s Office, telephoned Ms. Chao’s husband, Jim Breyer, about the incident.

Jim Breyer and Angela Chao attend an awards luncheon in Los Angeles on Jan. 12, 2024. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

“Breyer informed me for religious reasons they didn’t want an autopsy conducted.” Mr. Acosta wrote.

“This is not an uncommon request from family.”

Texas Rangers and FBI agents met with the Blanco County Sheriff’s Office on February 15, according to the report.

After viewing everything they [Texas Rangers and the FBI] felt this incident was nothing more than an unfortunate accident.” the report concluded.

However, the case remained open until the toxicology report and telephone records for Keinan and Tsuzuki were obtained, stated the report, which was released on March 20.

The vehicle was pulled from the pond the night of the accident and released back to the ranch manager later the same day.

About Angela Chao

Ms. Chao has five sisters, one of whom, Elaine Chao, is married to Mr. McConnell. Ms. Elaine Chao was Secretary of Transportation in the Trump administration.

Ms. Chao and her husband, who were married in 2012, both have extensive ties to China. Both are Harvard alumni and Mr. Breyer also attended Stanford.

Mr. Breyer is a venture capitalist and longtime investor in China via his company Breyer Capital and as the former co-chair of Beijing-based IDG Capital.

Ms. Chao was one of six independent board members of the Bank of China from Jan. 4, 2017, to June 30, 2022.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, stand in the Old Senate Chambers at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 3, 2021. (Samuel Corum/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“The re-election of Chao as an independent non-executive board member of the bank will help the board to improve its ability to analyze and judge the international situation,” states a document from the bank’s 2018 shareholders meeting.

The Bank of China has 14 board members; Four executive members, four non-executive members, and six independent members, according to an official document.

The Bank of China is managed and controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), with most members on the board also members of the CCP. During her tenure, Ms. Chao was the only board member outside of China.

From May 2009 to June 2011, Ms. Chao was also a board member of state-owned China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), which builds ships for the People’s Liberation Army and Navy.

The United Steelworkers Union and several other unions filed a petition on March 12 with the United States Trade Representative to investigate China’s maritime, logistics, and shipbuilding sector, including CSSC.

Mr. Breyer has invested heavily in China for many years.

As co-chair of IDG Capital from 2005 to January 2019, Mr. Breyer helped expand the company and invest in significant Chinese companies.

IDG touts itself as “the first global investment firm to enter China” on LinkedIn. “IDG Capital has funded more than half of all Chinese unicorns in early rounds.”

A pedestrian walks past the People's Bank of China, also known as China's Central Bank, in Beijing on Aug. 22, 2007. (Teh Eng Koon/AFP via Getty Images)

A report from the U.S. China Commission calls IDG’s investment track record in China “legendary.”

According to the report, IDG’s China investments include Qihoo 360, which has been flagged by the U.S. Department of Commerce for “activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.”

Other companies, such as ASR Microelectronics contribute to military-civil fusion programs in China.

According to the U.S. State Department, military-civil fusion is an aggressive strategy that the CCP uses to develop a first-class military by removing barriers between civilian and commercial sectors and its military. The State Department says the CCP gains ground in this strategy by also “acquiring and diverting the world’s cutting-edge technologies—including through theft—in order to achieve military dominance.”

Mr. Breyer also sits as a member of an independent task force sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, a New York-based think tank.

The task force is assembled to “assess issues of critical importance to U.S. foreign policy,” according to the website.

“Task Force members aim to reach a meaningful consensus on policy.”

In a 2022 interview with Techcrunch, Mr. Breyer said he has been very happy to invest in China over the past 16 years, “and I fully am passionate about continuing that for many years.”

Mr. Breyer was chairman of the advisory committee of Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management until 2021.

“I’m involved with the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management Advisory Board, which is really a wonderful who’s-who list of American executives. I was the chair until a year ago, and Tim Cook is now the chair,” he told Techcrunch.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/26/2024 - 23:00


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