Ohio Court Sets $1 Million Bail for Bhutanese Refugee Rimal in Murder Case

James Rimal, a Bhutanese refugee who came to the United States nearly nine years ago, is accused of murdering his wife, Chandra Maya Poudel Rimal, in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Rimal is currently being held in Summit County Jail on a $1 million bail.

Rimal claims to speak only Nepali and will be provided a language translator for his court hearings. The initial hearing, originally scheduled for Thursday, was moved to Friday via video¬† at 10 am. A subsequent hearing is set for Monday, March 4th, at 10:30 am. During Friday’s hearing, Rimal did not plead guilty to charges including domestic violence, making false alarms, and abuse of a corpse. No plea was entered for the murder, strangulation and tampering with evidence charges.

The body of Chandramaya Poudel Rimal was discovered in the woods on Tuesday. James Rimal now faces serious charges, including murder, strangulation, tampering with evidence, domestic violence, providing false information to law enforcement, and abuse of a deceased body. If convicted, he could face a minimum of 15 years to life in prison for murder alone. The potential sentences for the other charges range from a few months to several years.

Photo: Cuyahoga Falls Police Department

Following the discovery of Chandra Maya’s body, law enforcement obtained a warrant for James Rimal’s arrest and took custody of the couple’s three children, placing them with family members (specific details withheld). The Rimals, a Nepali-speaking Bhutanese refugee couple, lived in Cuyahoga Falls for less than five years with their son, two daughters (including a 15-month-old youngest child born in 2022), before this incident.

In February 21st, 2024, James Rimal reported Chandra Maya missing to the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department, claiming he woke up to find her gone. Authorities searched the home, surrounding areas, and interviewed neighbors, but Rimal reportedly offered no helpful information about her possible whereabouts. On February 27th, police located the body of a deceased Asian female near Middlebury Road, Kent, Ohio. The woman was identified as Chandramaya Poudel-Rimal. Investigators processed the scene and issued warrants for James Rimal’s arrest.