Angela Chao: Mitch McConell's Billionaire Sister-in-Law's Car Crash Death in Private Texas Property Now Under 'Criminal Investigation'

The Chao family holds a unique distinction as the only family in the school's history to have four daughters attend Harvard Business School.

  • Updated

The death of Senator Mitch McConnell's billionaire sister-in-law is under investigation as a potential crime, occurring weeks after her body was recovered from her submerged car in Texas. Angela Chao, 50, the CEO of shipping company Foremost Group, was found dead inside her sinking vehicle in a pond on a ranch in Johnson City, near Austin, on February 11.

Law enforcement has announced that Chao's death is now the subject of a "criminal investigation," as reported by CNBC. However, they have refused to release the 911 call and video evidence. Police had earlier believed that Chao may have drowned after her car entered a body of water on the property.

New Twist and Crime Angle

Angela Chao
Angela Chao X

In a letter to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the Blanco County Sheriff's Office said, "This incident was not a typical accident."

"Although the preliminary investigation indicated this was an unfortunate accident, the Sheriff's Office is still investigating this accident as a criminal matter until they have sufficient evidence to rule out criminal activity," the Blanco County Sheriff's Office wrote in a Thursday letter to state Attorney General Ken Paxton, according to CNBC.

No additional information regarding the nature of the criminal activity that may have occurred involving Chao has been shared.

Angela Chao
Angela Chao X

First responders reportedly spent over an hour trying to get Chao from her submerged vehicle, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

"The deputies were in the water standing on what they believed was the vehicle, trying to gain access to the possible victim inside the vehicle," fire Lt. Royce Penshorn in the report.

A two-person rescue team successfully pulled Chao from the car around 12:56 a.m., and emergency medical services personnel made efforts to revive her for 43 minutes without success.

The ranch where the incident occurred is owned by a corporation associated with her husband, Jim Breyer.

Chao's sister, Elaine Chao, is married to Mitch McConnell and has served as the Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush and as the Secretary of Transportation in the administration of President Donald Trump.

Angela Chao
Angela Chao with her husband Jim Breyer X

Chao, 50, was remembered by her father, James S.C. Chao, as his youngest daughter who was "thoughtful, kind, and devoted." He also described her as a much-loved and "charismatic and visionary leader."

James S.C. Chao said in a statement: "It is with a heavy heart and deep sadness that I announce the passing of my beloved youngest daughter, Angela Chao.

"Angela is a brilliant woman, a charismatic and visionary leader and much-loved by all her sisters, our entire family and friends. As a daughter, sister, mother, aunt, wife and friend, she was unfailingly filial, thoughtful, kind and devoted.

"These qualities were complemented by a spirited personality, exceptional intelligence, compassion for all and a wonderful sense of humor. She kept us laughing and smiling.

"Losing her at such a young age is something we never even imagined, and our entire family is devastated with grief."

Successful Life and Career

Chao was married to American venture capitalist Jim Breyer, with an estimated net worth of $2.9 billion. Before this, she was married to billionaire banker Bruce Wasserstein, who died in 2009, just months after their wedding.

Angela Chao
Angela Chao X

The Chao family holds a unique distinction as the only family in the school's history to have four daughters attend Harvard Business School.

Chao completed her bachelor's degree in economics with summa cum laude honors in just three years.

Following this, she pursued further education at Harvard Business School and later joined her father's company, The Foremost Group, in 1996. Chao was known for her "pioneering leadership" and noted as a "formidable executive" in the shipping industry.

In 2018, she assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer of the company. Additionally, Chao was appointed as an independent director on the board of the Bank of China in June 2016.

Chao served as a founding advisory council co-chair of The Asian American Foundation. The organization issued a statement expressing grief over the news of her tragic death.

Angela Chao
Angela Chao X

The nonprofit said, "The Asian American Foundation is heartbroken to learn of the devastating death of Angela Chao, a beloved businesswoman, philanthropist and respected leader.

"Angela has left an indelible mark on The Asian American Foundation and the AAPI community.

"A brilliant and committed leader, Angela's warmth, kindness, and infectious energy will live on in our work for decades to come."