Fairfax's Kenston Yi, retired Army officer, charged in wife, daughter's deaths

Relates to:
Date: 2010-06-16

By Tom Jackman

The wife of a retired Army lieutenant colonel, found dead in Fairfax County Monday morning, was beaten to death, and the man's daughter was asphyxiated, police said Tuesday.

The family member charged in their deaths, Kenston K. Yi, 49, was taken to a hospital early Tuesday after expressing suicidal thoughts while being held in the Fairfax County jail, authorities said. He was not present for his arraignment Tuesday morning on two counts of murder, and Fairfax Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Judge Teena D. Grodner appointed the Fairfax public defender to represent him. The case is being heard in domestic relations court because the victims are relatives.

In a search warrant affidavit filed Tuesday, police said that Yi told a minister at Fort Belvoir that he had strangled his wife, Hyon C. Yi, 47, and daughter Joy J. Yi, 15, in their apartment on Cardinal Forest Lane in the Lorton area of southern Fairfax.

About 8 a.m. Monday, Yi walked into the emergency room at DeWitt Army Community Hospital on the Fort Belvoir Army base and "told a doctor that he had taken Ambien and he wanted to hurt himself," according to the affidavit written by Fairfax homicide Detective Robert A. Bond.

Yi then asked to speak to a pastor, Bond wrote. Yi "advised the pastor that he strangled his wife and daughter," according to the affidavit.

Police went to the Lorton apartment and found the front door closed but unlocked. Inside, they found the bodies of Hyon and Joy Yi. "The bodies appeared to have blunt force trauma to them," Bond wrote.

The autopsies performed Tuesday morning revealed "blunt force trauma" as the cause of death for Hyon Yi, and asphyxiation as the cause of death for Joy Yi, a freshman at South County Secondary School, police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said. Police declined to say whether strangulation caused Joy Yi's asphyxiation or to discuss the specifics of Hyon Yi's death.

Kenston Yi retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel in August after 30 years of active duty, during which he also attended and graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Yi worked largely in information technology positions, according to Army records. Most recently, he worked on the staff of the Chief Information Officer for the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Army officials said.


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