December 7, 1970
Chicago, Illinois, United States
|Died||ca. January 9, 1999 (aged 28)
Washington, D.C., United States
Joyce Chiang (江宜玲 Jiāng Yílíng December 7, 1970–c. January 1999) was an attorney with the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, who was murdered. Joyce disappeared on January 9, 1999, in Washington, D.C., and was later found dead. The story of her disappearance and the discovery of her remains in the Potomac River, which drew only local news coverage at the time, was rediscovered and received some national attention in the wake of the similar disappearance of Chandra Levy in May 2001.
Joyce Chiang was one of four children and the only daughter of Taiwanese immigrants. She was born in Chicago and raised in Chicago and California. She graduated from the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in 1988 and attended Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she served as president of the Student Government Association in her senior year and graduated in 1992.
Originally a summer intern, after graduation Chiang worked as a legislative aide in the office of Congressman Howard Berman and attended evening classes at the Georgetown University Law Center. She completed a law degree in 1995.
On the day of Chiang's disappearance, she had met with several friends for a movie and dinner, and one of those friends offered Joyce a ride home. Joyce asked her friend to make one quick stop at the Starbucks at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue NW and R Street NW. Joyce told her friend that she would walk the four blocks home from the coffee shop, but she never made it to her apartment. Because Joyce was a federal employee, the FBI took the lead in investigating the case.
A couple walking through Anacostia Park the next day found Chiang's billfold and turned it in to park police, who filed it in the park's lost and found. Four days later, the couple recognized Chiang's photo in media coverage and alerted the FBI, who arranged a search of the park and discovered her apartment keys, video and grocery cards, and gloves. The jacket in which Chiang was last seen was also found, torn down the back.
Three months later and eight miles away, a canoeist on the Potomac River found a badly decomposed body later identified through DNA analysis as Chiang's. The cause of death could not be determined, and the case is considered a cold case. However, her family and friends are still searching for justice and implore anyone with information to come forward.
In addition to the Congressional intern connection, Chiang had lived four blocks away from where murder victim Chandra Levy would live, in Dupont Circle. Both were young, brunette women of petite stature. The Starbucks where Chiang was last seen was later frequented by Levy. These similarities have led to various theories that both women were killed by the same person, although the Congressman-in-sex-scandal aspect of Levy's case, coupled with the long time that passed before her body was found, led to more media interest.
Much of the resurgence of interest in the Joyce Chiang case was spearheaded by her brother, former Democratic Party political operative Roger Chiang, who along with their brother John was instrumental in several televised and print appeals for more information on her case and disappearance.
The Joyce Chiang Memorial Scholarship was established with the help of her family, to support one student each year with an internship at the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC) in Washington, D.C.
The Joyce Chiang Memorial Award was established at Georgetown University by her friends and colleagues. It supports an evening student with a demonstrated commitment to public service.
Joyce Chiang's brother, John Chiang, is Controller of the State of California.