17-Year-Old Named Suspect In Murder Of Foster Mother Renee Gilyard, Acting Philadelphia Police Commissioner Says

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Acting Philadelphia police commissioner has named a 17-year-old a suspect in the murder of his foster mother Renee Gilyard. Acting Philadelphia Police Commissioner Christine Coulter says charges are likely to come down later Thursday.

“We’re confident the folks we have in are indeed responsible for that murder but because it’s a juvenile we’re just going to take our time and take it one step at a time,” Coulter said. “I believe at this point it’s considered a suspect not a person of interest but it’ll just take a little while as each piece of information comes in and they follow up on it. Homicide executed some search warrants late into the night, stuff like that. So all that has to be part of the picture to make sure what we know then becomes known to the district attorney so they can make that decision.”

The 64-year-old mother of a Philadelphia police officer was found stabbed to death in a bathtub inside her East Germantown home Wednesday.

Police say Gilyard had stab wounds to her neck and defensive wounds to her hands. Officers found her covered in blood.

The teen and three others were taken into custody Wednesday morning following a police pursuit and crash of the victim’s vehicle. Police say Gilyard had been fostering the teen for three days.

Police also say the 17-year-old foster son may also be connected to two missing people — 20-year-old Jimmy Mao and 16-year-old Jacob Merritt-Richburg.

They say the teen was the last person to see Mao. CBS3 sources say the teen knew Mao through foster care placements.

On Wednesday night, human remains were found a short distance away from where Mao was last seen. The remains were found inside a black duffel bag on the 1000 block of Cobbs Creek Parkway.

Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small says the victim had neck and head wounds.

“It appears to be an Asian male,” Small said. “Police believe, based on tattoos and other information, that they know who the body is, but at this time it has not been positively identified.”

Mao’s sister tells Eyewitness News her family was asked to report to the Medical Examiner’s office Thursday morning, possibly to identify the body that was found.