Hero Dog tracked down a student’s killer 2 miles to the Hudson County Motel

HUDSON COUNTY, NJ — This fall brought a final chapter in a manslaughter investigation that began back in August 2020 after Jersey City resident Tong Cheng fatally stabbed his roommate, a 23-year-old student at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken. Cheng was sentenced to 28 years in state prison in late summer after pleading guilty last May.

But only recently it was revealed that if it weren’t for the long nose of the law, Cheng could still be at large today.

Officials said Cheng was not captured until August 2020 because a bloodhound tracked his scent two miles from the Jersey City crime scene to a motel.

The handler faced his justice at the end of the summer, but also had to say goodbye to the dog that had helped in this and so many other cases.

To this day, he updates a Facebook page dedicated to Remi the police dog and her legacy.

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A murder in Hudson County

The saga began on Saturday morning, August 8, 2020. Prosecutors say Tong Cheng, 28, a graduate of Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, got into an argument and stabbed his Jersey City Heights roommate, Yuting Ge, 23. Ge was a graduate student at Stevens.

Ge reportedly pleaded for his life in Chinese before his death.

Police arrived at the couple’s Jersey City Heights home at 12:30 p.m. and discovered Ge’s body. But they couldn’t find Cheng.

Until they called for Remi, then a 3-year-old bloodhound who worked for the Maywood, NJ Police Department.

Remi had been specially trained to search by land and sea.

According to what Remi’s supervisor, Detective Christ Nichols, wrote on Facebook this year: “Remi
received an article of clothing left behind by the suspect, after which a team of officers led her two miles through a city setting to a hotel.

There, Cheng was found in a motel room.

Remi, the night she helped capture Tong Cheng. Photo by Chris Nichols.

The Hudson County regional SWAT team arrived and took Cheng into custody “without further incident,” Nichols said.

Det. Nichols was only able to reveal the truth this year after Cheng pleaded guilty and awaited sentencing.

But the story doesn’t end here.

Good news and bad news

In the spring of 2022, the chief of police at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken presented Timothy Griffin, K9 Remi and Nichols with an award “for their role in the speedy arrest of such a violent and dangerous criminal.”

A month later, Det. Nichols has bad news.

He found out that his beloved canine partner — who had been involved in dozens of other criminal and missing Persona investigations in New Jersey — had pancreatic cancer.

Remi died shortly after, in June 2022. But she continues to receive awards to this day.

Nichols told Patch in the fall: “Remi was called upon to help with this [Hudson County] Investigations based on her reputation as a highly skilled and renowned law enforcement bloodhound.”

During the summer, the Maywood Police Department held a memorial service to recognize Draw’s many accomplishments.

At the time of the draw’s death, she had been responding to 312 calls. The Jersey City case has been cited in posts about her work.

Bloodhounds generally don’t live as long as other dogs, with an average lifespan of 10-12 years.

“Beyond Anything I Ever Expected”

Nichols recently said that Remi passed away after “5 1/2 years of Remi giving me everything she had, doing more than I ever expected and being my best friend at some of the most challenging times of my life”.

He wrote on a Facebook page dedicated to Remi’s legacy: “There is a hole in our hearts that will never be filled and our family has changed forever. We already miss her terribly.”

On September 29, Maywood Police Department announced that “Remi’s half-sister’s puppy,” a 9-week-old bloodhound named Phoenyx, had joined the department and would receive several months of state training.

“The best way to keep our beloved Remi’s legacy alive is for it to actually live on,” police wrote.

Meanwhile, in August, Tong Cheng was sentenced to 28 years in New Jersey state prison for aggravated manslaughter. “The state hopes the completion of this proceeding will bring comfort to the victim’s family as they continue to cope with the loss of a promising young man,” Assistant District Attorney Adam Salzer said.

On November 11, Nichols said it was Draw’s sixth birthday and presented some photos of his partner’s puppyhood and life.

He wrote: “We miss you every day Rem.”

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