Former tenant charged in 'brutal murder' of missing 72-year-old Virginia woman Emily Lu

·3 min read

Police in Fairfax County, Virginia say they have found the body of Emily Lu, a 72-year-old woman who disappeared nearly two months ago after a trip to a grocery store, and that her tenant has been charged with her murder.

“This murder is tragic. This murder is heartbreaking,” Major Ed O’Carroll said at a press conference on Saturday. “Emily didn’t deserve what had happened to her. She did nothing wrong. This is not the outcome we desired or hoped for, and I am personally saddened and heartbroken about the closure that has come to this case.”

Major Ed O’Carroll, Commander of the Major Crimes and Cyber and Forensics Bureaus, credited thousands of hours of police work, help from the community, media attention and dozens of interviews that led detectives to the person of interest in her case.

On Friday night, they got a break in the case when they received a call from a man sitting on a bench at a community center ballpark in Prince William County.

“This morning is Day 51,” Maj. Ed O’Carroll said, referring to the time since Emily Lu has been missing. “Justice came last night.”

On Friday, detectives received a call from Brian George Sayrs Jr., who turned himself in to police and accompanied them to a wooded area near Dudley Drive and Laurel Crest Drive, where detectives located Emily’s remains.

The location is less than two miles away from her home. Police said Saturday there is evidence that leads them to believe the murder took place at the home in Lorton where Emily and her tenant lived at the time of her disappearance.

Brian George Sayrs Jr., 25, was arrested Friday night and has been charged with second-degree murder and felony concealment of a body. He is being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center without bond.

Major O’Carroll said Sayrs is one of the dozens of people they interviewed and had been referred to as a person of interest in her disappearance. He added that a motive for Emily's killing is not yet known. He would not comment on why Sayrs called police but credited the active police investigation and media attention.

Emily Lu, who was previously featured in Dateline NBC’s “Missing in America,” has been missing since June 3, 2021. She was last seen that day on security video at the Aldi grocery store, at 1329 Gordon Plaza in Woodbridge, Virginia, police said.

When she didn’t show up for work the next day, her employer requested a welfare check at her home. Police responded to her home where they located her car in the driveway, with groceries still inside.

Detectives previously told Dateline that foul play was suspected after evidence reportedly suggested she may have been harmed inside her home.

Major O’Carroll reiterated to the press on Saturday that this is not the outcome they hoped for, but thanked the detectives and the media for the hard work that led to closure for the family.

“Emily was caring. Emily was loving. Emily was amazing,” Maj. O’Carroll said, adding that she dedicated her life to taking care of others in the community.

Emily’s daughter Jenny had previously described her mother to Dateline as a kind, very generous and loving person who always put others first and was always willing to help.

After moving to America from her native Taiwan, Emily got her bachelor’s degree in computer science and spent her career working in software development before retiring and devoting her time to caring for others.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting