Police release photo of suspect in murders of Philadelphia foster mom, man found in duffel bag

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- There is now a face to the name of the 17-year-old suspect charged in the murders of his foster mother and a man found dead inside a duffel bag.

On Friday morning, Philadelphia police released the mug shot of Xavier Johnson, who police say is homeless.

Along with the photo, police announced the formal charges against Johnson in connection to the stabbing death of 64-year-old Renee Gilyard and the killing of 20-year-old Jimmy Mao.

He was arrested Thursday and charged with the following offenses: (2) Counts of Murder, (2) Counts of Robbery, (2) Counts of Possessing Instruments of Crime, (2) Counts of Tamper With Evidence, (2) Counts of Obstruction of Justice, Abuse Corpse, Theft-Receiving Stolen Property.

Robbery appears to be the motive in both cases, police said.

"Both Miss Gilyard and Mr. Mao were brutally tortured and murdered by Xavier Johnson," Philadelphia Police Homicide Captain Jason Smith said Thursday.

Foster Mom, Officer's Mother Found Dead

Police said Gilyard was discovered in a bathtub inside her Germantown home on the 300 block of Mechanic Street shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Family members who had come to her home to check on Gilyard found her with multiple stab and defensive wounds.

Gilyard was also the mother of a Philadelphia police officer.

Police said the contents of her purse had been dumped out and her SUV was gone.

Just after 11 a.m., Gilyard's SUV was recovered by police after it crashed into a truck and caught fire on the 4300 block of Sansom Street in West Philadelphia.

Inside the SUV were four teens, including Johnson, Gilyard's foster son, police said. He had been placed in her care just three days earlier.

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Police said Johnson has five previous arrests.

Man Found in Duffel Bag, Missing Teen Found Safe

Johnson is also charged in the death of 20-year-old Jimmy Mao. Police said Johnson was previously placed in the same foster home with Mao.

Mao, of the 5800 block of Angora Terrace, was last seen on December 29. Police said Mao's family has been receiving ransom texts since his disappearance.

Jimmy Mao

Mao's remains were found Wednesday night in a back alley in the 5800 block of Angora Terrace in Southwest Philadelphia. It was not clear when Mao was killed.

Mao's body, authorities said, suffered from blunt force trauma to the face and neck.

"Mr. Mao had been killed. His body was placed inside a black duffel bag and taken to this location where he was thrown down a hill, presumably in an attempt to conceal his death," Smith said.

Seventeen-year-old Jacob Merritt-Richburg of the 1800 block of Vineyard Street, who police said is an acquaintance of Mao, was also reported missing earlier this week.

According to his mother, Gloria Richburg, Merritt-Richburg was located on Friday.

Anyone with any information is asked to call police at 215-686-TIPS.
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