Tho Vantha was a former Miss Cambodia America.
A former miss Cambodia-American, 35, was found dead in her apartment in Los Angeles, California. According to The Cambodia Daily, the beauty queen Tho Vantha received her crown in the beauty pageant that began in Long Beach in 1987.
Born in a refugee camp on the Thai border in 1981, Tho Vantha moved to the U.S. with her parents when she was 3 months old.
The Los Angeles Times reported that “Vantha Tho, a 35-year-old Asian female, died Thursday, July 28, after being shot in Hermosa Beach, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.”
In the Daily Breeze, reporter Kelcie Pegher wrote that
“A day after Vantha Tho, 35, was killed in her rented room, apparently by a former boyfriend who then took his own life, Tho’s sister and brother tried to make sense of it and the pain that has affected their lives. In 2003, their 21-year-old brother — an aspiring musician —died in a shooting in Long Beach.
“It broke my heart having to think about telling everyone that Vantha is gone,” Tho’s sister, Gloria, said Friday. “Having to reach out to all the corners of the world, I hate it. I do.”
Tho Vantha, left, with Cambodian actor Tep Rindaro
LOVE by Vouthy Tho feat. Vantha Tho
In loving memory of Vantha Tho, Tiffany Q. Nguyen wrote: “Vantha impacted so many lives with her beautiful heart. She was loved by many. She left this earth today to be beside her brother Vouthy in heaven.”
More about Tho Vantha:
A hairstylist at Evolution Salon in Hermosa Beach, Vantha was the oldest of four siblings in a family of Cambodian refugees who fled the Khmer Rouge regime, which killed 1.7 million people in the 1970s. Vantha was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. The children and their parents eventually made their way to Long Beach and the South Bay.
Vantha, who attended Long Beach schools, had aspirations to become an actress and model, and was named Miss Cambodia America in 1998. She chose not to continue with a beauty pageant career and followed in her mother’s footsteps to become a hairdresser.