Police seek public's help in solving the 2001 death of Maria Hsiao

Today, June 10, marks 22 years since 21-year-old Maria Hsiao was shot and killed outside a nightclub in Palo Alto in 2001. 

Palo Alto police is once again asking for the public's help to solve this cold case, urging anyone with information about Maria's death to come forward. 

"Her case remains unsolved, and we need your help to solve it," Palo Alto police wrote in a statement. "Even someone with second- or third-hand information about what happened may hold the missing piece of the puzzle that helps us to crack this case, solve a mystery, and bring justice for Maria, her family and her friends."

Maria, a student at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco at the time, was killed outside the Q Café nightclub. No weapon was ever recovered, and eyewitnesses have been unable to provide concrete suspect information, despite police interviewing hundreds of people.

Palo Alto police shared a 10-minute long video officers made in 2015 that details the events of that night by speaking with Maria's sister, a close friend and officers on scene.

"That night we just wanted to get together, a bunch of friends, and go out for dinner to celebrate her birthday and have a nice time," said Andrea Hsiao, Maria's sister. "We didn't expect for this to happen."

Her friends miss her dearly. 

"She had the kindest heart out of anyone I've ever known," Michelle Mah, one of Maria's friend, said in the 2015 video.

Maria had no known enemies and wasn't intoxicated that night, police said. 

"All she was doing was enjoying a night out with her family and friends," Lt. Zach Perron said in the video. "That I think is the really touching part about this case. It could have happened to anyone's daughter, this could have happened to anyone's sister or anyone's friend."

Police know that a group of people were standing outside the nightclub on the sidewalk around the time Maria was shot. A single shot was fired and hit Maria in the head, she later died on the operating table at a nearby hospital, police said. 

"It's highly unlikely that nobody saw anything happen that night," Andrea, Maria's sister, said. "I'm sure someone saw something." 

Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voice mail to (650) 383-8984. Tipsters may also call the detective bureau during business hours at 650-329-2597.