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Community Comes Together after a Skillman Mother Is Charged with Murdering Her Two Children

By Barbara A. Preston | November 12, 2021


A post mortem exam of Skillman residents Samantha Ross, 7, and her 11-month-old brother, Paul Ross, revealed their cause of death as suffocation "by airway obstruction," Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson said on Friday. The manner of death, he added, is homicide.


The children's mother, Yuhwei Chou, 36, of Skillman, is confined in Somerset County Jail, where she awaits a bail hearing. She is charged with two counts of first degree murder.

A roadside memorial of photos, flowers, and toys on the lawn outside the Skillman home of Samantha and Paul Ross, who both died of suffocation on Tuesday. The children's mother is charged with their deaths. (Photo by Barbara A. Preston)

The New Jersey Northern Regional Medical Examiner’s Office performed the post mortem examinations on the two homicide victims on Thursday, November 11. A final autopsy report, with toxicology results, is pending. The prosecutor says a motive has not been released as the circumstances leading to the events which caused the deaths of the two children are under investigation by authorities.

Yuhwei Chou of Skillman

In the wake of this tragedy, the Montgomery Township Inclusion & Equity Committee and the Blawenburg Reformed Church are co-sponsoring a community healing event at the church, 424 Route 518, Skillman. All community members are invited to attend in person, or via Zoom.


Blawenburg Pastor Jeff Knol and other community members will speak. “Rather than being alone in the grief of these recent events, we will gather together to express our shared sorrows as well as our shared resolve to support one another in the wake of this tragedy,” Knol says,

According to the Somerset County Complaint Warrant, obtained by The Montgomery News, Chou voluntarily told the court that she did purposely and knowingly cause the death of her children by duct taping their entire faces and holding her hand over their mouths until they died.


A witness observed a gray Toyota Corolla bearing NJ registration in a ditch on Mountainview Road in Hillsborough on Tuesday, November 9. The witness spoke with the driver, later identified as Chou, and saw that her hands were zip tied to the steering wheel, and her children were in child seats in the rear of the vehicle with their faces duct taped and hands zip tied, according to the Affidavit of Probable Cause, also obtained by The Montgomery News.


The witness told another witness to call 911. When police arrived, Chou told them she zip tied herself to the steering wheel and duct taped herself. She told police her children were dead.


In a voluntary post-Miranda taped statement, Chou stated that she "killed both of her children" on Monday, November 8, at about 2 pm, and that she had been planning the two murders for about one week.


Chou stated in the affidavit that she "first drove to Wawa for lunch and then to True Value, where she purchased duct tape and zip ties." Next, she drove to a sports park in Hillsborough and "began to duct tape" her daughter's face, but was spooked by a bystander in the park.


Chou said she then drove to Mountainview Road and parked in a hunting area with a dirt driveway on the side of the road. She then "got into the backseat and zip tied" her daughter's hands and duct taped her face, along with her son's face. She said she used her hands to suffocate both victims until they were dead.


Physical evidence recovered from the scene included: duct tape and DNA. The investigation involved a search warrant, in which officers seized three cell phones from the defendant's Skillman home


Chou is scheduled to appear in Superior Court next week.


Community members interested in attending the healing even at the Blawenburg Church should wear masks. Or, folks may attend the event on Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81306994852

(Meeting ID: 813 0699 4852. Passcode: event. Phone Number: 1-646-558-8656.)


Anyone with information relating to the children's homicides is asked to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit at 908.231.7100.

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