Person of interest sought in South Philadelphia restaurant worker killing

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Police are looking for a person of interest in the killing of a restaurant worker in South Philadelphia.

Police now have the formal name of a person of interest in the killing of a restaurant worker in South Philadelphia.

Investigators previously had only a vague description of the man now known to be Noel Ortea Lemus Del Cid.

He is believed to be a 27-year-old Honduran national with a last known address of 1331 S. 9th Street in the city. He is 5'6" tall with thin-to-medium build.

He drives a white SUV, police say, and may have a cut on one of his hands.

According to investigators, he was preparing food with the victim, 54-year-old Thoung Nguyen, in the basement of Lee's Cafe and Bistro on Thursday night.

When the owner didn't receive an order, he went down to check on her and found Nguyen on the floor.

Police say they were flagged down shortly after 9 p.m. and found a grisly scene. Nguyen's throat was slashed and she had severe bruises to her face.

Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small explains, "Obvious signs of a violent struggle because pieces of the kitchen equipment were actually knocked over. A piece of the equipment was actually laying on her body."

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

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It happened around 9 p.m. Thursday at Lee's Cafe and Bistro located in the 500 block of Washington Avenue.

Nha Nguyen is of no relation to the victim, but knew her. He tells us, "I spoke with her a couple times when I'm in here buying food and she's a great person. I wouldn't imagine anything like this happening to her."

Police have not released any details about a possible motive.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Homicide Unit at 215-686-3334, or dial 911.

Police note there is a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in all homicide investigations.
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