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The Unsolved Murder of the Sun Family

Case Update

Hello, my loyal true crime readers! I am thrilled to let you know that there has been a huge break in this case. I’ve been following the heartbreaking Sun family murders for years and am relieved there is finally some closure. 

For background details about the case, I suggest that you read my initial post below and then return here to learn about the update.

On September 11, 2022, 58-year-old Feng Lu was arrested in San Francisco, California and charged with capital murder in connection with the Sun family deaths. He had just returned to the US from China.

Feng Lu

Image of Feng Lu
Source: Harris County Sheriff Office Twitter

Court documents reveal that the murders may have been committed because Lu felt slighted at work. During police interviews, Lu told authorities he had asked Maoye Sun for a recommendation at work but was passed over for the promotion. He believed Sun lied to him and never really provided the recommendation. 

Police also discovered Lu bought a gun on January 23, 2014, and two days later they believe he used that gun to murder the entire Sun family. But Lu was not charged with murder during the initial investigation. He claimed he was never in the Sun family home and denied even knowing where they lived. Police did not have DNA putting Lu inside the home so they decided to hold off arresting him until they had more evidence. 

Then, in early 2022, investigators re-tested an old purse that had been found inside the Sun home. For this test, they used new DNA software called STRmix, which can “separate DNA strands of multiple people found at crime scenes.”

The results of the re-test gave investigators just what they needed: a solid DNA hit pointing directly at Lu. Investigators requested a warrant, and Lu was arrested and charged with the murders.

At the time of this update Lu was still awaiting trial, but hopes are high that the Sun family may finally get some justice. And their community can begin to heal. 

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

Cypress family massacre suspect was passed up for promotion before shooting, court documents revealABC 13 article

Man arrested in California in connection to 2014 murder of Cypress familyNPR article

“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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Published inTrue CrimeUnsolved Murder Files



  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.

      • Long Zhang Long Zhang


        If the operatives who murdered Sun family came from overseas they probably landed to US illegally or through main human trafficking route e.g directly to New York port hiding their identities. If the operatives really first landed to New York, it could not be ruled out that they ever stayed overnight somewhere rather than motel. If they “happened” to stay overnight at Chen’s apartment and got noticed by all Chen family members it seems likely Chen family would be murdered afterward, probably by another couple of operatives, for coverup of traces of the operatives who murdered Sun family. Psychologically, the murder of Sun family should have been planned so delicately that the operatives could have been fleeing from Houston airport or similar ones to overseas, which seemed needing travel documents support from China Consulate Houston. If all these really happened in similar manner as I suspect, it seems not that difficult to trace who picked the operatives up at New York and dropped off them Houston after 20 hours ride.

        And the manner Chen family were murdered seems different from how Sun family were murdered, however, if the 2 murders of families share the same or similar mastermind and main suspects then those different criminal tools perhaps mean the different jackets of the same mastermind for misinformation.



        • Christine Christine

          Hello. As always, thank you for your detailed insights and information into the tragic Sun case. Hopefully the case is solved one day soon. Take care ~ Christine

  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.

  6. Long Zhang Long Zhang

    Hi Christine,

    Thank you for posting this unsolved crime of murder of Sun Maoye’s whole family. I have some suspicion that the murder probably was carried out by China Military Intelligence for a coverup or preventive coverup of Some massacre toward Uyghurs such as Urumqi Massacre on Jul 5th 2009 or Yarkent Massacre Jul 28th, 2014, or both.

    I recently called Houston Crime Stopper Center, where the clerk who received my call seemed shocked by my saying.

    My Uyghur wife was murdered in China 2016 probably by Ministry of Public Security and Military Intelligence of CCP in conspiracy , and I experienced mysterious attempted murder through traffic accident at Tianjin in Nov 2016, 3 months later than my wife’s passing.

    At Houston I recently also experienced attempted murder, which further makes me believe that my judgement on the mastermind and main suspects of the murder of Sun’s family probably was correct!

    • Christine Christine

      Thank you for reading and for taking the time to share your insights and experiences. How terrifying that all must have been for you! I’m so sorry. Here’s hoping one day the Sun family can get some justice. Please take care.

  7. Sherlock Holmes Sherlock Holmes

    A few considerations… since there were no bullet casings found in the home, and a silencer was probably used since the children were killed in their beds upstairs and also the mum and dad in their bed downstairs with no struggle, the use of a silencer would rule out a revolver, and imply that the casings were removed before leaving. If there was nothing taken from the home and no appearance of forced entry other than a damaged window, perhaps the murderer was already in their home hiding in a closet before they arrived home, possibly entering through an accidentally left unlocked window, and then waited until they went to sleep. Perhaps there are DNA samples analyzed but no match available in a database because the suspect is not on file…. 😮

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Sherlock – Thanks for reading and for taking the time to share your insights with the community. I totally agree with the ruling out of the revolver and great insight that perhaps the killer was waiting for the family in the home (terrifying, but very possible). I do hope that DNA was found at the scene but no match has been found yet – as this at least means there is the possibility of a match in the future. Here’s hoping one day soon the Sun family’s loved ones get some answers. Take care and thanks again ~ Christine

  8. As per 13(C) of US Consulate Shanghai’s fax on Dec 4th 2007, Nanjing University Professor Gu “heard that Jiang Mianheng suffers from kidney cancer and has already had at least two operations–one in China and one abroad”. “One abroad” perhaps means some secret place in Shanghai or Nanjing; the organ probably was harvested from an Uyghur college student at Nanjing University; the organ transplant operation probably was carried out by kidney expert Li Leishi, who (was) suicided in 2010; Mr Zhou Yongkang probably helped identify this Uyghur male student’s organ compatibility with the person who needed organ transplant; the Uyghur student probably had a school classmate Uyghur girl student who happened to study at an University e.g. Tianjin University and who coincidentally knew my Uyghur wife and visited my home; that person who had Uyghur male student’s organ transplanted to himself seemed either Mr Jiang Mianheng or Mr Xi Jinping; that was why Urumqi massacre occurred; Mr Zhou Yongkang perhaps handed over the information of the Uyghur male student’s identity and some Urumqi massacre implementation plan, through his son Mr Zhou Bin, to Dr Sun Maoye in case of being “suicided” future by the paramount leader(s) (e.g. Mr Jiang Zemin or Mr Xi Jinping) for coverup.

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Long. Thanks for reading and for reaching out. This interesting information for you to share with the true crime community on the Sun case. You never know what will lead to a case being solved! Hopefully it has been forwarded to the proper authorities as well. It makes several assumptions that I’m not sure how they are backed up, but a lot of things to think about, for sure. Thanks again. ~ Christine

  9. Christian,

    I provide a link as below for my wife’s China State Crime Compensation Claims so that the possible context of the unsolved murder of Sun Family might be more characterized. Frankly speaking, this unsolved murder was probably an international organized crime, which concerned not only China military intelligence but then some highest US highest intelligence official(s).

    Best regards

    Long Zhang

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Long. Thank you for sharing this information as well. It truly is a mystifying case and hopefully the more details that are shared the closer it will get to being solved. My heart breaks for the Sun family. Although I wonder how likely it is it will be solved if there really is a connection to a conspiracy involving US intelligence officials. Take care ~ Christine

  10. Hi Christine,

    As per 14. (S) US Shanghai Consulate fax Sept 20, 2007, China former finance minister Mr Jin Renqing was fired in Aug 2007 due to being honey-trapped by a Taiwanese woman spy.

    However, Mr Jin Renqing reportedly died during a 2 square meters fire at his balcony on Aug 27, 2021, about 10 days later than his wife’s passing, which seemed happened right after my comment posted on Aug 16th, 2021.

    I recall that Jul and Aug of 2007 were probably the period of marriage proposal discussion between me and my Uyghur wife.

    10 Uyghur college students were detained in a rented apartment outside Tianjin University in Jan 2006 and probably all executed so that their organs could be harvested and transplanted to some CCP leaders, high officials, and/or CCP’s old friends.

    And in the last week, Mr Jin Renqing reportedly ever had a new heart transplanted in 2006.

    I ever had a job interview on May 9th 2007 at the Tianjin TEDA office of Anadarko. And on the same day China deputy premier Mr Huang Ju probably was killed by CCP leaders and kept in freezer for several weeks.

    All relevant information of the identities of those 10 Uyghur college students probably were also transferred by Mr Zhou Yongkang, through his Son Mr Zhou Bin, to Dr Sun Maoye.

    If neither Mr Jiang Mianheng nor Mr Xi Jinping ever had organ transplanted, a bigger and more horrifying picture might be speculated!

    Best regards


    • Christine Christine

      Hi Long. Thank you for this information and for sharing it with the community. Lots to mull over here!

  11. Reconstructing the crime scene seems not that difficult but pursuing the operatives does. If the mastermind (and main suspects) had resources of forensic engineering expertise when designing the murder the operatives, right after the murder of Sun family, probably have been killed and their dead bodies disposed.

    Perhaps the main suspects have also been killed “in timely manner” for further coverup. I found that then deputy chief of joint staff & top general Mr Wang Jianping reportedly was detained one week after my wife’s passing (Aug 19, 2016) and again reportedly suicided in April 2017, 2 months later since I sent out my wife’s China State’s Crime Compensation Claims from Houston to China court through UPS. I also noticed that both then the chief of joint staff and top general Mr Fang Fenghui and then Director of departmental of political affairs and top general Mr Zhang Yang were reportedly detained allegedly for an attempted coup. And Mr Zhang Yang , his wife and daughter reportedly all suicided later Nov 2017.

    I also noticed that Mr Xi Jinping inaugurated the Chairman of China State Security Commission probably right, or within hours, after the murder of Sun family. Then Kunming Railway station terrorist attack on Mar 1st, 2014. Then MH370 flight vanished on Mar 8th, 2014. Then Yakent genocidal massacre occurred on Jul 28th, 2014.

    The murder of Sun family seems just a sprout from the bigger picture of organized crime practices (repeatedly accumulated scenes). Several points deserve mulling further:

    (1) what intent behind the murder of Mr Huang Ju then deputy premier, to whom Mr Zhou Yongkang reported? Did then Mr Wen Jiabao then premier know why Mr Huang Ju was murdered?

    (2) Mr Jin Renqing seemed only having a free ticket to the “train” of Uyghur college students’ organ harvesting, however, for whom was the “train” dedicated? The “counter-Intelligence” of Jiang Mianheng’s kidney transplant could have been better than the leaks occurred to US overseas Intelligence community in China. Was the “train” possibly dedicated to Mr Jiang Zemin? Or dedicated not only for Mr Jiang Zemin but also for someone else?

    (3) why did US Shanghai Consulate fail at lease 2 times to sort away CCP’s intentional Intelligence garbages In later 2007? As Stalin, Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Jiang Zemin seem all secret members of Illuminati, the current “practice” of organ harvesting from Uyghur college students and transplant to CCP leaders has not only medical purpose but also human sacrifice (murdering) ritual implications. I suspect some Illuminati families ever had organ transplants in China from Uyghur college students, which seems why US Shanghai Consulate “failed” to sort away the Intelligence garage intentionally fed by CCP. I suspect that the late Prince Philip probably ever had organ transplant in China. So did the late Benjamin de Rothschild. Genetically, politically and diplomatically Uyghur college students’ organs seem the best choice for Illuminati families members’ organ replacements.

    I ever submitted a paper abstract on Oct 27th, 2011, which was my 35 year birthday, to an international conference on intercultural communication.

    2 weeks later UK businessman Neil Heywood was murdered in Chongqing, China and at the same time Mr Jiang Mianheng resigned from Vice President of China Academy of Science and, as disclosed by Dr Lawrence Sellin, Jiang Mianheng shifted his career to chairing COVID development and its future industry.

    A new epistemology seems necessary towards solving the murder of Sun family!

    • Christine Christine

      As always, thank you for sharing your detailed thoughts on this case. Here’s hoping it’s solved one day soon. Take care ~ Christine

  12. Not Needed Not Needed

    Feng Lu, a Chinese immigrant co-worker of Maoye Sun, was arrested around September 15th for the murder of the Sun family. The alleged motive is that Lu sought revenge for Maoye Sun’s allegedly speaking ill (rather than providing a requested recommendation for a job promotion) of him at work resulting in Lu not getting a promotion. Early indications are that Lu was mistaken in his belief that Sun spoke ill of him.

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