Fairfax County police have identified a person of interest in the disappearance of 72-year-old Emily Lu, a Virginia woman who went missing on June 3, 2021, officials announced during a press conference on Thursday.
Fairfax County Police Department Major Ed O'Carroll said they will not be releasing the name of the person of interest at this time, but referred to the person as “he” and said they do believe Emily knew him.
"The person of interest is not a stranger to Ms. Lu," Major Ed O’Carroll, Commander of the Major Crimes and Cyber and Forensics Bureaus said Thursday. He added that the department was able to identify a person of interest thanks to “a tremendous amount of digital evidence.”
The FCPD has not ruled out, however, that there may be more than one person of interest.
Thursday’s press conference was held in the wooded area about a mile from Emily’s home in Lorton, Virginia. Police said their ongoing search for her brought them there, which is where they are currently searching.
The 72-year-old Virginia resident, who was featured in Dateline NBC’s “Missing in America” has been missing since June 3, 2021. She was last seen that day on surveillance video at the Aldi grocery store, at 1329 Gordon Plaza in Woodbridge, Virginia, police said.
When she didn’t show up for work the next day, Emily’s employer requested a welfare check at her home. Police responded to the home where they located her car in the driveway, with groceries still inside.
Detectives previously told Dateline that foul play was suspected after evidence reportedly suggested she may have been harmed inside her home. They added that Emily had tenants living at her house at the time of her disappearance, but at the press conference on Thursday, authorities would not say if any of the tenants were considered persons of interest.
Police continue to ask the public to come forward with information and announced that they are expanding their search. A $20,000 reward is still being offered for information that leads to her whereabouts.
“Emily and Emily’s family deserve the best justice,” Major O’Carroll said. “We will move swiftly, but want to make sure we’re accurate.”
Fairfax County Chief of Police Kevin Davis told reporters on Thursday that the case remains a missing person investigation and they will not stop until they find her. He added that they are working with federal and local authorities to bring justice in the case.
Emily’s daughter Jenny describes her mother as a kind, very generous and loving person who always puts others first and always willing to help.
After moving to America from her native Taiwan, Emily got her bachelor’s degree in computer science and spent her career working in software development before retiring and devoting her time to caring for others.
“She came to America, raised her family and built a life for herself,” Jenny told Dateline back in June. “She’s this independent, resilient woman who can do anything.”
This evening, a prayer vigil will be held at 7 p.m. outside Emily’s home in Lorton. Organizers said all are welcome “to come help us shine some light that will, hopefully, be a beacon to guide Emily home.”
Emily is described as being 5’2” tall and weighs about 130 lbs. She has brown hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information on Emily’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Fairfax County Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800, option 6. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone – 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), by text – Type “FCCS” plus tip to 847411.