Angela Chao’s Mysterious Death: A Tragic Accident or a Criminal Act?

The recent passing of Angela Chao, the CEO of Foremost Group and sister-in-law of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is currently the focus of a “criminal investigation,” according to a statement from the Blanco County Sheriff’s Office in Texas on Thursday.

Chao, aged 50, was discovered deceased shortly after midnight on Feb. 11, following a car incident at a private ranch in Johnson City, Texas, about 40 miles from Austin.

In a letter addressed to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the Blanco County Sheriff’s Office stated, “This incident was not a typical accident,” highlighting that, despite the preliminary investigation suggesting an unfortunate accident, they are treating it as a criminal matter until sufficient evidence rules out criminal activity.

Due to the ongoing criminal probe into Chao’s death, the sheriff’s office has advised against releasing reports, 911 logs, audio and video evidence, and other materials to media outlets, including CNBC, which have requested them. The office emphasized that premature release could interfere with the investigation and potential prosecution.

While the letter did not indicate evidence of a crime causing Chao’s death, the statement that it was not a “typical accident” and the potential for prosecution represent a departure from the initial statement released shortly after her death on Feb. 16.

The earlier statement mentioned that EMS attempted emergency measures, but Chao succumbed to being underwater. It described the incident as an unfortunate accident, with the investigation ongoing.

The ranch where the incident occurred is owned by a corporate entity linked to Chao’s husband, venture capitalist Jim Breyer. Chao was the sister of Elaine Chao, McConnell’s wife, who has held positions in the U.S. Labor and Transportation departments. Their parents founded the Foremost Group.

In the letter to Paxton, the Blanco County Sheriff’s Office sought the attorney general’s opinion on withholding records and materials from the public during the ongoing investigation. It assured that once the probe is complete, all reports will be released to the public.

Foremost Group declined to comment on the letter, and CNBC has sought comments from spokespeople for Breyer and Elaine Chao.

McConnell, announcing his decision to step down as the Senate Republican leader, acknowledged the difficult time for his family, emphasizing the tragic loss of Angela Chao just a few weeks prior.

Angela Chao, a double Harvard graduate and Foremost CEO since 2018, had a notable career, serving on the board of the Bank of China and as a director of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation. Her husband, Breyer, is a part owner of the NBA’s Boston Celtics and has served on the boards of various prominent companies.

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