Suspect in Catawba County murder found dead

CONOVER, NC (WBTV) - WBTV has confirmed the primary suspect in the Catawba County murder of a family of four is dead.

Late Tuesday night in St. George, Utah, the suspect and a female passenger were spotted on Interstate 15 in Washington County.

Authorities turned on their lights and attempted to stop the vehicle when the suspect started to drive erratically, hit another vehicle in front of them and rolled up on a hill.

This morning the Associated Press is reporting the suspect killed himself.  It isn't clear how the female passenger died.

A press conference is scheduled at 9:00 a.m. at the Catawba County Sheriff's Department.

WBTV will have the latest information on WBTV News at Noon.

Last Thursday, the bodies of Lisa Phan, her 20 year old daughter, teenage daughter, and 3-year old boy were found in their home.  They were shot and stabbed to death.

Investigators were following more than 100 leads which poured in after America's Most Wanted profiled the case on national television Saturday.

WBTV also discovered more about the case through search warrants.

Investigators took computers, cash, cell phones, and a clear plastic bag of a controlled substance into evidence.

No word on what the substance is or how it may be involved.

Visitation is today for Lisa Phan and her three children, between 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. at Jenkins Funeral Home in Newton.

(Here is the official press release from the Washington County Sheriff's Office in Utah):

On March 17, 2009, an attempt to locate was broadcast for two homicide suspects out of North Carolina.

North Carolina provided information that the vehicle was believed to have entered Utah on Interstate 70 and was headed toward California.

The two suspects, a male and a female, were wanted in connection with a quadruple homicide that occurred in that jurisdiction.

The ATL advised that the occupants were considered armed and dangerous.

At approximately 11:20 PM, the vehicle was located at about mile marker 26, southbound on Interstate 15, by Washington County Deputy Steve Hatzidakis. Deputy Hatzidakis followed behind the vehicle as other deputies responded to assist in stopping the vehicle.

The deputies initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle at about mile marker 17. Within seconds of the deputies initiating the traffic stop, the ATL vehicle struck another vehicle, then drove up an embankment and coming to a stop on the hillside.

The vehicle caught fire soon after the deputies approached it.

Both suspects were pulled from the burning vehicle, but they were both deceased.  The official cause of death has not been released and the investigation is ongoing at this time.

The initial attempt to locate was broadcast by the Catawba County Sheriff's Office, North Carolina. Officials in North Carolina have been notified.

The identities of the suspects have not been confirmed at this time and their names will not be released until it has been confirmed.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office would like to thank the Utah Highway Patrol, Iron County Sheriff's Office, St George City Police Department, Washington City Police Department, and Washington City Fire Department, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety for their assistance in the investigation.