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Au pair arrested after man murdered in Virginia family's home

Police also found mother stabbed to death, but no one has been charged in her death.
Posted at 12:48 PM, Oct 22, 2023

HERNDON, Va. — A woman working as an au pair has been arrested and charged in a shooting that killed a 39-year-old man at a family’s Herndon home in February, according to Fairfax Police.

Officers said they received two 911 calls from inside a home on Stable Brook Way around 8 a.m. on Feb. 24, WUSA reported.

While the first was a hang up call, police said the second came from 23-year-old Juliana Peres Magalhaes.

"A woman was stating that a friend of hers was hurt and then a male got on the phone and said an unknown male had entered his home and he had shot them," Fairfax Police Chief Kevin Davis said at a news conference in February.

When officers arrived at the home, they described the scene as horrific.

"They found Christine Banfield in an upstairs bedroom. She had been stabbed multiple times in the upper body and Joseph Ryan who had been shot multiple times in the upper body," Lt. Erin Weeks with Fairfax Police said.

Christine Banfield and her 38-year-old husband, who sources said is a federal law enforcement agent, lived in the home with their 4-year-old child and Magalhaes, their au pair.

Police said Ryan was somehow connected to Christine Banfield, but they would not elaborate.

Investigators said Banfield's husband is the one who initially had told a 911 dispatcher that he shot Ryan.

However, Magalhaes has now been charged with second-degree murder in Ryan's death.

Magalhaes is being held without bond at the adult detention center in Fairfax County.

No one has been charged in Banfield's death.

Joseph Nathan Ryan
Joseph Nathan Ryan

Ryan’s mother, Deirdre Fisher, remembered her son as her best friend.

"We spent countless hours on the phone,” Fisher recalled. “He would call me all the time. The level of our friendship — not everybody gets to have that and I was blessed with that as a parent."

Fisher said she wants justice for her son.

"I loved him beyond and he was taken from me," Fisher said.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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