Au pair charged months after fatal shooting of man, stabbing of woman in Virginia home

Au pair charged months after fatal shooting of man, stabbing of woman in Virginia home

Thao Nguyen

A 23-year-old au pair was arrested and charged in connection to a homicide at a family’s home in Virginia, according to authorities.

The arrest follows a nearly seven month investigation that remains ongoing, Fairfax County Police Lt. Erin Weeks said at a news conference Thursday. Juliana Peres Magalhaes, of Brazil, is accused of fatally shooting 39-year-old Joseph Ryan at a Fairfax County home on Feb. 24.

Peres Magalhaes has been charged with second degree murder and is being held at the county’s adult detention center without bond, according to police.

Another victim, Christine Banfield, 37, had also been found in the home with stab wounds to the upper body, police said. Banfield was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Police have not identified a suspect in connection to Banfield’s death, according to Weeks. But all parties involved in the incident have been accounted for, Weeks said, and there is no ongoing threat to the community.

“This is a very, very active investigation. We are leaving all options open,” Weeks said at the news conference. “Our big thing is continuing to interview people, continuing to review all digital and forensic evidence, and learn how Christine Banfield was fatally stabbed.”

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What happened on Feb. 24?

Just after 8 a.m. on Feb. 24, Fairfax County Police officers responded to a 911 call where Peres Magalhaes said “a friend of hers was hurt,” according to Weeks. Another person, later identified as Banfield’s husband, was also heard on the call alleging that he had shot an unknown male who had entered his home and stabbed his wife, police said.

When officers arrived at the Banfield home, Weeks said “they found a horrific scene.”

Banfield was discovered in an upstairs bedroom with multiple stab wounds to her upper body and Ryan was found nearby with gunshot wounds to his upper body, police said. Banfield’s 4-year-old daughter was also home when the murders occurred but was not physically harmed.

Banfield was then transported to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead, according to police. Ryan was declared deceased at the scene.

Further investigation revealed that there were no signs of forced entry into the Banfield’s residence and that Banfield’s husband was “outside of the home” when the murders happened, Weeks said.

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How were the victims and au pair connected?

Ryan and Banfield had known each other but Ryan had no connection to the rest of the family and their au pair, according to Weeks.

At the time of Peres Magalhaes’ arrest, Weeks said she had been living in the area of Fairfax County. Peres Magalhaes is also facing a felony use of a firearm count, according to online court records.

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Weeks added that police are investigating the motive and are “still working closely with all parties involved in this case.”

“We are looking at all investigative leads,” Weeks said at the news conference. “We’ve continued to investigate this case for the last seven months doing the same thing. It’s a very complex and thorough investigation that we’re gonna continue to do.”

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