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The California Google engineer accused of pummeling his wife to death last week hosted guests for dinner the night before, including one who told police the host was staring blankly into space at the dinner table, according to court documents.

Liren Chen, 27, faces a murder charge after police found him “spattered with blood” near the body of Xuanyi Yu on Jan. 16. Both were Google employees at the time of the incident.

“The [reporting party] had eaten dinner with Chen and [the victim] the previous evening at their home, and he was concerned about a noticeable change in Chen’s demeanor,” detectives wrote in a statement of facts related to the case. “Chen was quiet and staring blankly for much of the evening.”

The friend who observed Chen’s bizarre behavior at dinner tried calling in the morning but no one picked up. He returned to the house to check on the couple, peeked in a window and saw Chen kneeling with his hands up, still “staring blankly,” before police had even been called, prosecutors allege.


Liren Chen

Liren Chen was found Jan. 16 inside his home spattered with blood and near his wife’s body, the District Attorney’s Office said. (LinkedIn)

Police arrived and Chen allegedly remained motionless. A responding officer pronounced Yu dead at the scene.

Yu had blunt-force injuries to her head, and Chen’s right hand was “extremely swollen and purple,” according to the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office.

His clothes were covered in blood and so were his hands, legs and arms, prosecutors said. He had minor scratches on his left arm, according to investigators.  

Xuanyi Yu stands in front of a mountain range at sunset

Xuanyi Yu stands in front of a mountain range at sunset in her LinkedIn profile picture. (Xuanyi Yu/LinkedIn)

“However, he did not appear to have any lacerations on his body that would have produced this blood,” the detective noted. 

A bloody pair of sandals nearby led the investigator to conclude, “I believe Chen was wearing the sandals as he stood or crouched next to [the victim] and struck her repeatedly in the head with his hand.”

Read the detective’s statement

Police asked Chen how he injured his hand, according to the filing. 

“I punched my wife,” he allegedly replied. “Yesterday.”

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by what has happened to Xuanyi,” Google spokesperson Bailey Tomson said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Our thoughts are with her family at this time, and we will work to provide support to them and to co-workers who are processing this tragic news.”

Google headquarters

Google headquarters on Dec. 19, 2023, in Mountain View, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


Both Yu and Chen studied in China at Tsinghua University and at the University of California San Diego, their LinkedIn pages said.

Chen was taken to the hospital after his arrest. He is due in court Wednesday morning for his arraignment.

Fox News’ Sarah Rumpf-Whitten contributed to this report.

Michael Ruiz is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @mikerreports

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