Cranston cold case murder reopened after 21 years

Chansay Sayavong

Reporting by Kirsten Glavin and Ana Bottary



CRANSTON – A cold case murder has been reopened after more than 20 years.

Cranston investigators are revisiting old files, re–testing DNA samples and bringing their information for the first time to social media, looking for answers.

"There have been major advancements in technology and forensics, so we’re hoping now that we’re going to resubmit the evidence, and possibly gain some more information, or even a hint through the court system with a DNA match,” explained Detective Michael Iacone of the Cranston PD Special Victims Unit.

The case took place in February of 1994.  29–year–old Chansay Sayavong was last seen leaving his home on Vinton Street in Providence, driving a red 1985 Dodge Colt.  That car was later found in Johnston, abandoned and burned. Sayavong’s body was found the next morning by workers, floating in Narragansett Bay.

Police determined that Sayavong’s body was beaten to death, right next to a sea wall at the end of Ocean Avenue. Then it was dragged into the water.  ABC6 is told Sayavong sustained serious blunt force injuries to his head, which ultimately lead to his death.

"There was snow on the ground, there was some evidence left behind… as in blood,” said Detective Iacone. 

Investigations are now narrowing in on a private part of Sayavong’s life.  A part investigators say was not as widely accepted as it is today.

"We know that Chansay was visiting certain clubs in Providence, certain bars that did lend to an alternative gay lifestyle,” said Captain Sean Carmody, Detective Commander at the Cranston Police Department.

The Cranston Police Department is asking for help from everyone, but the gay community in particular, for any new leads.

Chansay’s brother, Oudom Souvannarath, spoke out Wednesday night, saying his faith in the department has been renewed.

"Back then I thought, they don’t care about poor people, they don’t care about foreign people. But when I see it now, I think thank God they opened this for me," said Souvannarath, fighting back tears.

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