A man accused of killing his co-worker’s family in their Texas home more than eight years ago was arrested over the weekend after he arrived at San Francisco’s airport from China, officials said.
Feng Lu, 58, was charged Sunday with capital murder in the deaths of the co-worker, Maoye Sun, 50; the man's wife, Mei Xie, 49; and their two children, Timothy, 9, and Titus, 7, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.
The family were found dead in their home in the 14000 block of Fosters Creek Drive in Cypress on Jan. 30, 2014, each with gunshot wounds to the head, officials said.
After years of questions and few answers, authorities have finally named Lu as the assailant who stormed the Sun family’s home, apparently bitter after a workplace dispute, based on interviews and DNA evidence.
Lu was taken into custody Sunday by San Francisco police, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations.
New details about the slayings that shook the quiet suburb have come to light with Lu's arrest.
Deputies arrived at the family's home on Jan. 30, 2014, after they got a call about a welfare check, according to the criminal complaint filed in Harris County District Court. The caller said Sun hadn’t been seen in four days and hadn’t shown up for work. Authorities found the rear door to the kitchen open. One of the deputies said he could smell a foul odor.
Inside, officers found the four family members in separate rooms. Authorities believe they were killed on or about Jan. 25, 2014.
Maoye and his wife died by gunshot wounds to the head, while Titus was shot in his head and neck and Timothy in his head and torso, according to the criminal complaint.
Their deaths were ruled homicides.
Deputies found the wife's purse lying on the floor of the laundry room with several of its items scattered, which was submitted for forensic evidence.
Inconsistencies lead to a break in the case
The complaint doesn’t spell out when authorities started zeroing in on Lu, but the FBI interviewed him at some point.
Lu claimed in the interview that he had never been to the Sun residence, denied knowing the other family members besides Maoye and offered up a sample of his saliva, the complaint said.
Lu told the FBI about an incident at his workplace, Cameron International, in which he asked Sun to provide a recommendation so Lu could be transferred to the research and development department.
He told agents “he heard” that Sun hadn’t provided the recommendation. He said he called him at work in the spring of 2013 to ask why he hadn’t sent the recommendation, but the victim responded he had, according to the complaint.
When Lu went to work the next day, he said, he was “treated differently" by his co-workers and believed Sun made “derogatory comments about him to fellow co-workers” after the phone call, which might be the reason he didn’t get the promotion, the complaint said.
He also told the FBI that he had bought a handgun sometime during January 2014 from a gun store and returned it a few weeks later.
Investigators determined that he bout a Glock 9mm handgun on Jan. 23, 2014 — two days before the killings — and returned it on Feb 4, 2014, without the barrel.
Investigators determined the bullets used in the shooting were consistent with the bullets used with the gun he bought.
Similar to what he told the FBI, Lu told sheriff's office investigators he didn't know where the Sun family lived until he saw news coverage of their deaths.
Authorities also interviewed Lu’s wife. She confirmed there had been a workplace disagreement, adding that Sun didn't agree with her husband's pursuit of a promotion, officals said.
The sheriff’s office said there were inconsistencies between her version and Lu’s versions of what happened.
Physical evidence from the scene was also analyzed for mixtures of DNA. On Jan. 11, officials reviewed a report that found a mixture of Lu’s DNA and that of Sun's wife on her purse, contradicting his claim that he didn’t know her or where the family lived.
It wasn’t clear Thursday why there was a gap between the discovery in January and Lu's arrest Sunday.
He is being held at the San Mateo County Jail pending extradition to Texas.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said the investigation continues.