Crime and Courts

Mother of Brazilian au pair charged in Fairfax County killing says she wants answers

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The mother of an au pair from Brazil who is accused of killing a man at a home in Herndon, Virginia, says she's worried about her daughter and she believes there's more to the story.

On Feb. 24, 37-year-old Christine Banfield was fatally stabbed and 39-year-old Joseph Ryan was shot to death inside a bedroom at Banfield's home on Stable Brook Way.

Banfield's husband and their au pair, 23-year-old Juliana Peres Magalhaes, both called 911 that morning and were at the scene when Fairfax County officers arrived.

During the 911 call, the husband said he shot Ryan because Ryan had stabbed Christine.

But Peres Magalhaes was arrested and charged Thursday with Ryan's murder. Meanwhile, the husband has not been charged with any crime.

News4 spoke to Peres Magalhaes' mother, Marina Peres Souza, via a video phone call on Monday. Folha de S.Paulo, a reporter in Brazil, translated the interview.

Peres Souza said her daughter got along very well with the Banfield family, and if there was any type of dispute between Juliana and Christine, she was not aware of it.

She said she hasn't spoken to her daughter since she was arrested.

"She must tell the truth. She must tell them what happened that day, the events that took place and not just say that she was the only one, but say that [the husband] was with her as well," Peres Souza said when asked what she would tell her daughter.

Police said forensic evidence and multiple interviews showed that Peres Magalhaes shot Ryan.

Fairfax County police have not said who they believe stabbed Banfield, and detectives are still doing interviews and reviewing evidence.

"Just because we've made an arrest, doesn't mean that this case is closed," Lt. Erin Weeks said.

Peres Magalhaes faces two felony charges: second-degree murder and use of a firearm to commit a felony. If convicted, she faces up to 43 years in prison.

She remains in jail without bond.

News4 reached out to Peres Magalhaes' lawyer, but has not received a response.

Police asked anyone with information to call 703-246-7800, option 2. People can also submit anonymous tips to 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Stay with News4 for updates to this developing story.

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