How a Fetish Website Is Central to Prosecutors' Case Against an Au Pair Accused of Murder

A Va. mother was stabbed to death, while an unrelated man was fatally shot in a bizarre murder mystery

<p>Fairfax County Police Department</p> Juliana Peres Magalhaes

Fairfax County Police Department

Juliana Peres Magalhaes

The February 2023 deaths of a mother and an unrelated man has led to a murder charge against an au pair, but in the months since, the case has seen a number of strange turns.

Police were called to a home in Fairfax County, Va., on Feb. 24, 2023 and found Christine Banfield, a mother and pediatric nurse, suffering from upper-body stab wounds and a man, Joseph Ryan, suffering from gunshot wounds nearby.

Authorities were alerted to the home after a 911 call made by Juliana Peres Magalhaes, who worked as Banfield’s au pair. She allegedly told police “a friend of hers was hurt,” before a man, who police said was Banfield’s husband, got on the line.

According to a police statement obtained by PEOPLE, Banfield’s husband said he had shot a man. No one was arrested at the time.

Related: Months After Man and Woman Were Killed in Upscale Va. Home, Au Pair Who Called 911 Is Charged with Murder

Police said, per an NBC Washington report, the au pair said she and Banfield’s husband were out that morning and when she returned to the home, she saw a car she didn’t recognize. She in turn called the husband, who came to the house.

Nearly seven months after Ryan and Banfield were killed, Peres Magalhaes, a native of Brazil, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, with authorities alleging that she fatally shot Ryan. No one has been charged in connection with Banfield’s death.

Another twist came in December when, at a bond hearing, prosecutors alleged that Ryan had been lured to the home through a fetish website, by an account under Banfield’s name, according to reports from NBC Washington, WTOP and DC News Now.

<p>Christine Banfield/Facebook</p> Christine Banfield

Christine Banfield/Facebook

Christine Banfield

Further, prosecutors have alleged that Magalhaes was having an affair with Banfield’s husband, who has not been charged with a crime.

Authorities contend that someone else other than Banfield was communicating with Ryan on the fetish site under her name, NBC reported. Detectives claimed that the way she communicated on the site was different than how she was described in real life, the outlet reported.

At that hearing in December, Peres Magalhaes’ attorney argued that the easiest theory to accept regarding the fetish site was that Banfield was the one messaging with Ryan, WTOP reported.

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During a subsequent hearing held Monday, April 1, prosecutors claimed that Banfield’s husband and the au pair went to a shooting range months before the shooting, and that the husband had returned to the range to buy a gun, according to the report from NBC.

Peres Magalhaes attorney’s have previously claimed that she shot Ryan in self-defense, according to reports. They also claimed that the husband told her to shoot the man, WUSA reported.

NBC reported detectives have said the au pair and the husband had previously said Ryan was attacking Banfield, which led to the husband firing at Ryan.

At Monday’s hearing, Banfield’s husband was called to the stand and invoked his Fifth Amendment rights, WTOP and NBC reported.

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