LOn Thursday, Christopher Collins called Texas police from a gym and asked them to do a welfare check. His wife, Yuanhua Liang, had written to him about an uninvited guest in their house, he claimed, and now he could not reach her.
The 41-year-old man – freelance graphic designer and financial adviser according to his various social media profiles – reportedly told police he was not rushing home because Liang could be paranoid at times. When Collins met Harris County deputies at the couple’s residence, they found Liang shot dead in the living room.
Now Collins is charged with her murder, and investigators say he “went to great lengths” to make it look like someone else killed her. According to prosecutors at a hearing on Thanksgiving morning, Collins told officers he and Liang did not store weapons or “live ammunition.” He also claimed that they had no life insurance.
But authorities who searched the property found a $ 250,000 life insurance document on a desk. Collins and Liang had signed the papers on November 16 – just two days before Liang’s alleged murder, ABC13 reported in Houston.
During Thursday’s hearing, prosecutors said Liang’s body was found with a sleeping mask on her face and a bag wrapped around her head. They suggested that when an accused killer has a “personal relationship” with their target, they will not “want to see their face while dying.”
Collins was quickly suspected, police said, because several aspects of his story did not match. They said the couple’s residence showed no signs of intrusion, and surveillance footage from the gym showed Collins walking around the facility for 45 minutes and then training for 5 minutes after receiving his wife’s urgent text message. The video then revealed that Collins made a phone call in the gym’s cafe.
The landlord allegedly told officers that his house had security cameras, but he did not think to check them when his wife complained about an uninvited guest.
Meanwhile, police discovered Liang’s purse and her cosmetic bag in Collins’ closet in the gym, which was opened by an employee of the gym. Prior to that discovery, Collins had reportedly reported Liang’s wallet missing.
Authorities say they also found a .22-caliber live-lap in Collins’ pocket and that Liang was shot with a similar small-caliber pistol.
On Wednesday, Harris County lawmakers re-interviewed Sheriff’s Office Collins before arresting him in connection with Liang’s murder.
Collins was not present for his hearing the next day, Click 2 Houston reported because he was in the mental health department of the jail. A judge set Collins’ bail at $ 150,000 and scheduled a follow-up trial for Monday.
A Click 2 Houston reporter said she spoke to Collins shortly after Liang’s death, but that “he was very upset and asked for privacy.”
At a press briefing last week, Sgt. Ben Beall of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were called to the couple’s house two weeks before the alleged murder after someone reported an intruder on their property.
“At this point, it appears to be a traumatic death,” Beall said. “We’re interrogating neighbors and looking for other witnesses out here.”
Liang, 46, appeared to be following “Kiki” on social media. She and Collins were active on TikTok and Instagram, where they had accounts dedicated to their dog, Coco, and another handle titled “kikiandchrisyoga,” with a biography that says, “Husband and wife. Doing yoga. Living green. Live healthy. Breeding chickens. Love your bodies! “
On November 15, Collins shared his illustration work on TikTok with a caption that read, “Still trying to raise money for the family. Please order me.” A month earlier, Collins showed a drawing of his wife designed with a textile backdrop that said, “Trust yourself everywhere.”
The couple also set up a GoFundMe page and a website called TheTommyFoundation.com to request donations for their kitten, which they said required surgery. “We have fostered and raised over 20 animals in the last 5 years,” the website states, adding, “the website is new and will evolve over time as our fund will help more and more fur children around the country. Please consider to donate everything you can. It all helps. Every penny. “
Another site, DenverTheBear.com, links to Collins’ Instagram account and appears to be a fashion company run by the accused killer. The streetwear site refers to him as “Slippyninja Collins” and says he is “an artist outside of Boston” and “disabled veterinarian and 2x cancer survivor.”
“He has traveled all over the world and bumped elbows with elites across the globe,” the website said. “He’s been a designer for years and is now moving into the designer shoe game.”
Police reports suggest Collins may have experienced financial problems recently.
After his wife’s fatal shooting, Collins reportedly told detectives that his vehicle had been taken back and that he was currently driving in a rental car.
Liang seemed supportive of Collins in her post on TikTok, including by promoting his Denver The Bear sneaker design, which Collins announced as being made in Italy. “My husband, my husband released his brand of high-end shoes,” she wrote in a March post with a GIF declaring, “Success requires practice.”
A month before, Liang shared a TikTok slide show stating, “Ever since my husband got sick, we’ve been on a strict diet.” She described in detail their use of intermittent fasting and anti-inflammatory foods, adding: “Now he is down to 34 pounds and is healthy despite the chemo. And the best news is that we have seen a 70% reduction in tumor size.”
“Now we move on. Continue our health journey,” she wrote. “Thank you all for the support.”
In a January TikTok, Liang wrote: “Until 2 months ago, I used to exercise. Every day. Then. My husband got cancer. Everything changed.”
Her caption said: “The 40s and our lives have just begun. New health. New life.”