'Absolutely baffling': Police charge 17-year-old in murders of Renee Gilyard, Jimmy Mao

Officials have formally charged a 17-year-old male in connection with the murders of his foster mother Renee Gilyard and Jimmy Mao.

Police say Xavier Johnson has been charged with murder. Johnson also faces numerous other charges including obstruction of justice, robbery, theft, tampering evidence, fleeing/attempting to elude police officers, possession of an instrument of crime, and abuse of corpse. 

Johnson, who was the foster son of 64-year-old Gilyard, had five prior arrests for aggravated assaults, according to officials. He had been in Gilyard's care for approximately three days.

Both Gilyard and Mao, 20, were found stabbed to death at different times and locations on Wednesday, authorities said previously. 

"Both Ms. Gilyard and Mr. Mao were brutally tortured and murdered by Xavier Johnson," Captain Jason Smith said in a press conference Thursday afternoon.

Jimmy Mao was last seen on Dec. 29.

Captain Smith explained that robbery appeared to be the motive for both murders. A Playstation game console, video games, and potentially money were stolen during the alleged robberies. 

"I want to emphasize here that we are at the very most preliminary stage of criminal matter," said Assistant District Attorney Adam Geer.


Mother of PPD officer found fatally stabbed; teen foster son, 3 others in custody

20-year-old Jimmy Mao missing from Southwest Philadelphia since late December

16-year-old Jacob Merritt-Richburg missing from North Philadelphia

8 dead, 8 injured after violent weekend in Philadelphia

Police found Renee Gilyard covered in blood and suffering from two stab wounds to the neck around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. They were responding to the 300 block of Mechanic Street after reports of a person screaming. 

Also on Wednesday evening, authorities found the body of Jimmy Mao in a duffel bag along train tracks on the 1000 block of Cobbs Creek Parkway. Officials explained that they believe his body was dumped in an effort to cover up his murder. 

Mao had suffered stab wounds to his face and neck, according to officials. He was identified by family members early Thursday morning. 

For the latest local news, sports and weather, download the FOX 29 News app.