The body of Angela Chao, the sister-in-law of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), was mysteriously uncovered from a pond in Central Texas almost ten days ago, a story that initially went underreported but has begun to catch the attention of social media users. Chao is said to have died after her car “entered a body of water” on the property of a private ranch, as reported by the Austin American Statesman.

“EMS attempted emergency measures on her but she succumbed from being under the water,” Blanco County sheriff’s office wrote in a statement on Thursday. “Our preliminary investigation has determined this to be an unfortunate accident. The investigation is ongoing.” Authorities have not even determined if Chao died from drowning. She reportedly lived 50 miles from Blanco County according to the Associated Press.

When asked (through formal requests under the Texas Public Information Act) by the Statesman to release the exact address of the property on which she died, Blanco County authorities declined every time. No information has been released about the event besides a very curt statement from the sheriff’s office, which is featured below. The preliminary investigation declared it an “unfortunate accident,” meaning no foul play is suspected, but a full investigation is allegedly underway.

Angela Chao, 50, was the youngest of six sisters including former Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, McConnell’s wife. Her family has “deep ties to the economic and political elite in China,” according to The New York Times.

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Angela worked as the CEO of a global dry bulk shipping company called Foremost Group. Before being elevated to CEO, she held a number of different positions within the company related to regulatory compliance, such as security measures introduced after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. She held a variety of board positions at prominent American institutions, such as Harvard Business School, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the National Committee on US-China Relations, a nonprofit that facilitates US-Chinese economic and governmental dealings. Notably, Angela served as the Honorary Chairperson of the Chiao-Tung University Alumni Association in America, an alumni body for a collective of colleges in mainland China.

Her father, James S.C. Chao, founded the Foremost Group in 1964 and still serves as its honorary chairman. He was born in rural China and worked his way up its sailing industry before becoming the highest-ranking mariner in the country according to his exam scores. The honors he received from this brought him the means to attend graduate business studies in the United States, attending St. John’s University in the state of New York for his MBA. He is described as an “early adopter of green technology” and his lifetime achievements have been formally recognized by the United Nations, the US Supreme Court, the US Department of Homeland Security, and various American educational institutions.

“Angela’s name in Chinese sounds like the characters for peace and prosperity. She certainly gave more than her share of both to this world,” James told NBC News. “Her absence leaves a void not only in our hearts, but in the Asian-American community.”

Angela was married to James Breyer, the founder and CEO of Breyer Capital, an investment firm headquartered in Austin, Texas. The firm primarily funds technology ventures working on artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, and computational healthcare. He has served as an investor or lead director at a number of big companies such as Dell, Etsy, Facebook, Marvell Entertainment, Spotify, and Wal-Mart. He has also been involved in Harvard University’s finances and governance bodies and was a founding member of the advisory board of the Stanford Institute for Human-Assisted Artificial Intelligence (HAI).

Breyer was previously the chair of the Tsinghua University Advisory Board for the School of Economics and Management (Apple CEO Tim Cook is the current chair; Breyer still serves as a board member). Tsinghua is a public university based in Beijing. Breyer is described in his company bio as a “long-time member of the CFR [Council on Foreign Relations] and a member of several World Economic Forum Committees.” His bio continues:

“He also has a long-standing interest in conservation and environmental sustainability and is a longtime member of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), The Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and Trout Unlimited. Jim is also an advisor and supporter of Celtics United for Social Justice, an organization committed to addressing Racial Injustice and Social Inequities in the Greater Boston area.

Since 2016, Breyer’s investment interests have centered on collaborating and deepening ties with many of the world’s excellent Universities in the United States including Stanford, Harvard, MIT, UCSF, University of Texas Austin, and several others that have deep expertise in technologies that sit at the intersection of Al and the life sciences and quantum sciences.”

Read the full statement from the Blanco County Sheriff’s Office below:




Shane Devine is a writer covering politics, economics, and culture for Valuetainment. Follow Shane on X (Twitter).

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