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The Unsolved Murder of the Sun Family

The Unsolved Murder of the Sun Family

 

Case File Overview

 

The Sun family was found murdered in their home in Harris County, Texas, on January 30th, 2014.

Maoye Sun, 50, an engineer; his wife, Mei Xie, 49; and their sons, Timothy, 9; and Titus, 7 were all shot in the head execution-style in separate bedrooms.

Scene of the crime: 14015 Fosters Creek Drive 

Image of Sun family murder crime scene
Image source: Houston Chronicle

Maoye’s co-workers became concerned when he missed several days of work. He was a mechanical engineer for Cameron, a Houston-based oil and gas industry equipment manufacturer. After Maoye’s co-workers contacted the Harris County police, they did a welfare check on the Suns around 7:30 pm and discovered their bodies.

Authorities noticed that the back door of the house was open and a window at the rear of the house was broken. The police described the crime scene as “horrific.”

No weapons were found in the home, so a murder-suicide scenario was quickly ruled out.

After autopsies were performed, the estimated time of death was determined to be sometime between January 24th at 7:00 pm and January 25th at 11:00 am.

The Sun family’s brutal killing remains unsolved.

 

Case File Theories

 

Random killing

Were the Suns murdered during a home invasion robbery? This is hard to know because police are being extremely tight-lipped about the case. They haven’t released the type of gun used in the crime or if anything was missing from the home. The police have, however, said that the Suns were your average, quiet family and didn’t appear to be linked to illegal activities. This points to their death being a random killing. However, I think that a typical robber wouldn’t murder four people in cold blood, including two children. Also, none of the victims had been tied up prior to their death, which is quite common in home invasion robberies. Although possible, it doesn’t feel like this heinous crime was random.

Zhou Yongkang

Did a corrupt Chinese official have the Sun family executed? The Chinese media has reported that Zhou Yongkang, a top Communist Party member, confessed to placing a hit on the Sun family.

Zhou Yongkang

Image of Zhou Yongkang suspect in the murder of the Sun family
Image source: The Epoch Times

While being interrogated about his involvement in corruption, Zhou stated that he had the family killed because Maoye, a former employee of the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation, was privy to Zhou’s illegal dealings when Zhou was in the state oil industry in the 1990s. Also, Maoye reportedly managed Zhou’s assets in the United States and handled classified documents. This theory strikes me as both plausible and far-fetched. Officials have been quick to point out that Zhou’s involvement hasn’t been substantiated. Moreover, most of the media outlets that reported Zhou’s confession have a mixed record of accuracy.

Who do you think murdered the Sun family?

Police are not giving up on this case. They have even put up billboards along Houston highways to try to generate tips and have brought in the FBI for assistance.

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia spoke directly to the murderer(s) during a news conference. He stated, “I want you to remember that you killed two children. I want that to burn in your brain.” He went on to say, “I want it to give you a heart condition. I want it to give you ulcers.” Statements like this make it clear that the police are working hard to seek justice for the Sun family.

The Sun family 

Image of the murdered Sun family
Image source: Ranker

Investigators believe that the public, especially the Chinese community, might have information that could help solve this case. The police, however, feel that members of the Chinese community are too afraid to speak out. It’s time that someone bravely steps forward to help the Sun’s loved ones and family overseas attain some sense of closure.

There is a $75,000 reward in this case. Anyone with information is asked to call Houston Crime Stoppers at (713) 222-TIPS (8477) or the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Division at (713) 967-5810

Related reading

“Six months after Cypress family slain, wary community wonders”Houston Chronicle article

“Investigators release new details in Cypress murders”Cypress Creek Mirror article

“Sheriff to killer: I want memory of murders to give you ulcers”CBC News article

“Did China’s former Security Chief order the murder of a family in the US?”The Epoch Times article

Interested in unsolved murder cases? Check out the mysterious murder of realtor Lindsay Buziak and the brutal slaying of Anthony Manning.

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12 Comments

  1. Todd Todd

    Interesting case. Pretty obvious to me that it’s got to be a hit with that brutality. Hopefully they catch the people that did this , but in my opinion this might be a hard case to crack

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Todd. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m also leaning towards a hit or perhaps a case of mistaken identity. Such a horrible and disturbing case. I hope the Sun family’s loved ones can have some kind of closure one day, but I think that you’re right: this will be a hard case to solve.

      • Todd Todd

        Mistaken identity, man… wouldn’t that be the absolute worst thing .. interesting article!
        Thanks, I read them all of yours, I just don’t comment on them all!

        • Christine Christine

          Mistaken identity leading to murder would indeed be the worst! And thanks so much for being a regular reader; you’re much appreciated.

  2. Gracie Gracie

    Sounds like they are dealing with a psychotic hit man in this cold case. Unbelievably brutal! As the investigators are hoping, someone in the Chinese community could, most likely, get this case alive again. That would be such an awful circumstance if the murder of this family was a mistake in identity. I highly doubt if it was, that the killer/killers would have any remorse at all. How could anyone murder children? I pray this family does find the restitution they so rightly deserve!

    • Christine Christine

      Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment! I can’t agree more; this case is devastatingly brutal. I also can’t imagine the type of person who could execute an entire family, including two children. You and Todd both mentioned mistaken identity, and I really hope that’s not the case. If true, it feels all the more tragic. Here’s hoping the Sun family’s killer is one day brought to justice.

  3. David David

    I wonder if the same guys who murdered the Lam family in Spring, TX in January, 2018 might have been involved. The police haven’t mentioned robbery, but the locations are eerily close on the north side of Houston. If they used the same weapons I’m sure the police will confirm the connection. Let’s hope the case is solved soon, regardless of who was involved.

    • Christine Christine

      Hi David – Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment. Great point. I did read about the Lam family murder but couldn’t see anything concrete that connected the cases. You never know, though. Close geographical region and horrifying level of violence. I think it takes a certain kind of person to kill a family. Thanks again, and have a great weekend.

  4. Daniel Breeyear Daniel Breeyear

    October of the same year, the Chen family were also murdered in a suburb outside of Albany N.Y, the parents and two children. Police still have no motive as to why it happened, weapon of choice was rumored to be a hammer.
    I was just surfing to see if anything new was going on with the case and came across your site, and couldn’t believe that another family had been executed.

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Daniel – Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts! I did know about the Chen family murders. Such a terrible crime. Their murders were much more violent than the Sun family murders (although all are horrific, of course). It’s believed by some authorities that the Chen’s were murdered during some kind of organized hit over money (seems dumb to kill someone who owes you money though…why not take one of the family members as collateral? They can’t pay you if they are all dead…). No connection has been made between the Chen and Sun family murders (at least officially), and apparently the Chinese community is typically very insular so we may never know more. Both of these cases are often on my mind, and I hope that one day there can be resolution.

  5. Bill Bill

    Throughout most of the 80’s, Chinese students in the United States at our universities always traveled with a security agent. The agent was usually about the same age as the students but didn’t take classes. The agent’s job was just to watch the students and see that they didn’t become too enamored with the USA. When I was earning my bachelor’s degree, a friend lived in a rooming house with a bunch of Chinese nationals. I think three of them were students and the fourth was just a security agent who spied on the other three. If Mr. Sun came to the USA for college and grad school, he might have been studying with a similar agent watching his moves.

    Mr. Sun may have been working for the Chinese in industrial espionage. That happens sometimes. In that case, he and his family may have been killed because of some mistake he made or because someone else in their organization made a mistake that would have uncovered their activities. Mr. Zhou may have been guilty of failure in his mission rather than any real corruption. His “confession” to killing the Sun family may be more about covering the spy ring than anything else.

    If this killing is a hit by a Chinese spy agency, I don’t think that they will find a solution.

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Bill! Thanks for reading and for commenting. I always appreciate your thoughts. Now that would be an interesting twist! I don’t think anyone in the Sun family had a minder and I wonder if the practice was less common by the time of this case, but I suppose it’s possible. I read an article recently about industrial espionage by international university students in the US (especially those from China) and restrictions placed on their school admissions. So this type of espionage was and is still a thing.

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