February 20, 2023 | By Samantha Stephenson
This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and the University of North Florida, Applied Journalism class.
Linda Tran was an inquisitive and independent young woman. When she was only 17 years old, she headed to Seattle ready to conquer the world. She was only gone for a couple of years before the love for her family was enough to bring her back home.
When Tran was growing up, she was starstruck with Jordan from New Kids on the Block and liked to play bingo. Tran, Loanna, and Hannah would have slumber parties and pick berries during the summer. Tran enjoyed roller skating with her sister or riding around 38th Street with her cousin.
It was a tough period for her family — “We were very saddened during the time she was gone,” her sister, Loanna, said about Tran leaving her senior year of high school.
During her 2 years away, Linda became a mother. She gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Patricia. The depth of a mother’s love has no end and Linda decided it was time to reach out to her parents and come back home.
Her return reunited a family that had been close. Her parents were excited to become grandparents and doted on Patricia. Patricia loved spending time with them. She would go straight to her grandparents after school spending hours with them. She was excited to share her day with them. She loved art and would often draw things to give them as gifts.
“Linda would do anything and everything for her younger siblings. She was the eldest girl, and she was very serious about her role in the family,” Loanna said. “To me, she was an amazing sister, and nobody could replace her.”
After coming back home, Tran lived with her parents before settling into a place of her own. When Patricia was 8 years old, Linda gave birth to a baby boy named Austin. Patricia loved her role as big sister and was the best big sister anyone could ask for.
Then tragedy struck.
On December 18, 1998, just six months after settling into her new house, Tran who was now 7 months pregnant was murdered. Linda was at her parent’s house cooking dinner for her dad, when she received a call stating someone had Christmas presents for her children.
When she arrived back at her home, witnesses say they saw her arguing with a thin dark male. Christmas presents were strewn across the front lawn as the male chased Linda into the house. A few minutes later the male appeared at the front door, armed with a baseball bat. He took no pity on the innocent children, ordering them into the house and beating them to death as Linda’s body laid inches from the front door.
Witnesses later saw the male running out the back door to a vehicle parked down the street, but no one has come forward to identify him.
Minutes later Tran’s house exploded into flames.
Tran was a very private person and a very good mother, her family said. She provided for her children and family.
Detectives and Tran’s family believe she knew the suspect — and they hold out hope that more information may come to light about the crime.
“I haven’t given up hope. My husband and I submitted some documents to obtain more records. We suspect it was someone she knew and maybe had a dating relationship,” Hannah said.
“Linda was very family oriented even though she had her own family, she felt it was important to take care of her parents. Linda wanted to keep the Asian tradition alive even though she was in the USA”.
If you have information on the unsolved murders of Linda, Patricia, Austin and unborn Joshua Tran, please call Tacoma / Pierce County Crime Stoppers at 253-591-5959. All Callers will remain anonymous and may receive up to $1000 dollars for information leading to the arrest and charges filed for the person in this case.
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