A Chinese family's murder leaves few clues for police
Updated: 2014-02-06 12:52
By May Zhou in Houston (China Daily USA)
Friends and neighbors laid flowers outside of Sun's family home in Cypress, Houston, where the family of four were found shot dead last Thursday. Provided to China Daily
The shooting deaths of a Chinese family of four, including two boys ages 7 and 9, at their suburban Houston home last week has given police few clues, and they are asking for the public's help.
Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia said Tuesday that authorities have not yet determined a motive for the slayings nor identified any suspects.
"I need everyone in this region to help us bring these evildoers to justice," Garcia said.
Garcia said that deputies went to the family's Cypress home last Thursday after the husband's co-workers became concerned because he did not show up for work for several days. Deputies found the back door of the house open and inside found a "horrific crime scene," Garcia said.
All were shot once in the head and each was found in a different room at their house on Fosters Creek Drive, according to the police report. The exact date or time of death was not available.
Police did not release the victims' identities pending notification of next of kin, but according to Harris County tax records, the house where the crime occurred was owned by Sun Maoye, 50, who purchased it on January 1, 2002.
The other victims were Sun's 49-year-old wife Xie Mei, their sons Timothy Xie Sun, 9, and Titus Xiao Sun, 7. The couple were naturalized US citizens.
Sun's Facebook and LinkedIn profiles indicate that he went to University of Texas and was working for Cameron, a Houston-based oil and gas industry equipment manufacturer. The children were students at Sampson Elementary School in the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District. Some media reports say that the children were last seen in school on Jan 23, and the couple was last seen on Jan 24.
Except for a broken window in the back of the house, police did not release other details about the crime scene. Garcia said that the type of gun used in the killings was not known, or whether anything was taken from the house.
Chen Xuemin, an associate professor at Texas Southern University who lives in the same area as Sun, told China Daily that he learned of the killings prior to the police announcing them.
Chen said he played volleyball with Sun Maoye and other professionals who live in the area on weekends, and one of the players sent an e-mail to the group about the killings.
"Sun came to play with us but stopped coming in last a few months," Chen said. "I was so shocked and sad that I was not even in the mood to properly celebrate the Lunar New Year. He was a very nice and modest guy. Someone who was once close to us, albeit just in a casual way, was suddenly taken away like that, and his whole family too, it's incomprehensible."
Sally Bailey, a resident in the area, said: "It's a rather sad and shocking affair. The police are not telling us much of anything. This murder is not only gruesome but bizarre. Killed in execution style! This is a quiet and safe neighborhood with a low crime rate. An incident like this is just weird and I don't know what to think of it."
Another area resident who only wanted to be identified by first name Christi, said: "I have been in this area for 14 years. It's a typical nice middle-class suburban neighborhood; nothing like this has happened before. The two sons were in Boy Scouts and neighborhood people know them. Since police released very little information, there is a lot of wild speculations going around. "
Zhou Yujiang, political and press consul from the Chinese Consulate General in Houston, said that the consulate has been in touch with the police about the progress in solving the case, and has helped to locate the victims' relatives in China.
"We are shocked and saddened by the incident. This is a vicious crime and we hope the perpetrator(s) will be brought to justice soon to bring peace and calm to the neighborhood." Zhou said.
He said the victims' relatives are in the process of getting documents to come to the US and the Consulate will assist within their scope of authority.
(China Daily USA 02/06/2014 page2)