Dothan teen sexually assaulted before murder, suspect seen walking towards home on camera footage, investigators say

Warning: Some of the details in this story are graphic. Reader discretion is advised.

DOTHAN, Ala (WDHN) — New information has come to light about the late 2023 murder of a teenage girl, including how officers tracked the suspect and a graphic sexual assault.

Minh Thanh Nguyen is charged with capital murder-rape and capital murder-burglary in the death of  17-year-old Duong Thi Thuy Troung. Nguyen was arrested in December 2023.

During a preliminary hearing on Friday, investigators laid out what led them to Nguyen as a suspect, which includes security camera footage from a nail salon and Dollar Store and pings from his phone on the day of the murder.

Dothan Police say Nguyen was seen on camera leaving M3 Nails in Dothan, his place of work, just after 10:00 a.m. that day and was seen asking towards Truong’s home in the 100 block of Sedona Lane. The house is less than 600 feet from the salon.

According to investigators, Nguyen and Truong’s mother had previously been in a relationship and lived in Mississippi before moving to Dothan. The couple later broke up, allegedly because Truong and her two sisters disliked Nguyen.

Police claim Nguyen had later told them during questioning that he had felt disrespected by the family but denied ever going to the home that morning.

Investigators on the stand say Nguyen was later seen getting in his van, leaving the nail salon, and driving to the Dollar Store, a hardware store, before going home.

Truong was found that same day by her mother and sister lying face up on her bed, severely injured. First responders attempted to save her life at the home, but she later died after being transported to a local hospital.

According to the autopsy report revealed during the hearing, Truong died due to strangulation and had been sodomized by a two-foot-long yoga pole.

The report also says she had bruising to her throat, arms, and face.

Police say the family immediately pointed to Nguyen as a potential suspect. However, officers on the scene could not recover any physical evidence linking him to the crime.

DNA tests were conducted on the clothes Nguyen was believed to have been wearing on him, and authorities performed a DNA swab on Truong.

Nguyen’s attorneys asked investigators about three interviews with police and asked if there was any damage to the home or if it looked like Nguyen forced his way inside. Police responded by saying there wasn’t damage or signs of forced entry.

During the hearing, a Houston County Judge decided there was enough evidence and sent the case to a Houston County Grand Jury.

At the time of Nguyen’s arrest, he was charged with one count of felony murder. Still, police said that charge was upgraded to the capital murder charge after it was discovered Truong had been sexually assaulted and items had gone missing from her bedroom.

Nguyen is being held in the Houston County Jail with no bond. His case has now been sent to a grand jury.

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