A man from Herndon has been charged with two counts of first degree murder in the double homicide of a mother and her adult son found dead in their Aldie home Jan. 31.
Brian K. Welsh, 38, was taken into custody at his home in Fairfax on Tuesday afternoon and was held without bond at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for May 22 in District Court.
Mala Manwani, 65, and her son Rishi Manwani, 32, were found dead at their home on Tomey Court. Mala’s co-worker asked deputies to check on her after she failed show up at work during the week. Investigators believe the Manwanis were killed about two days before they were found.
Investigators say Welsh and Rishi were close friends, and it is believed Welsh targeted Rishi over narcotics activity taking place inside the home. The mother was not believed to be an intended target. Both victims were found shot multiple times in different parts of the home.
“We understand that Rishi was killed … in the basement, and that the mother was not in the basement at the time, that she had apparently heard something going on,” said Sheriff Michael Chapman during a press conference announcing the arrest. “And that’s when she was later confronted in a different part of the house by the suspect.”
Detectives interviewed more than 60 people and followed leads in West Virginia and northern and central Virginia and served 21 search warrants and seven court orders during the investigation. A firearm which investigators say was used in the homicide was recovered and forensically matched to shell casings found at the scene.
Over the course of the investigation, Welsh was interviewed several times. Nonetheless, according to Criminal Investigations Division Commander Richard Fiano, it does not appear he knew there was an arrest warrant for him.
“We really don’t have a really good idea as far as the distribution network that they may have, that they may have had either individually or in concert,” Fiano said. “We are looking into that.”
But he said there is no evidence so far of gang activity.
Welsh has no known criminal history. Manwani’s older brother, Raj, had died of a heroin overdose in 2015.
The Sheriff’s Office is not releasing many details of its findings so far.
The investigation was conducted in coordination with the Loudoun Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the Fairfax County Police Department, the Virginia Department of Forensic Science and the Drug Enforcement Agency’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Task Force.
Chapman said the case points to the many ways the opioid epidemic impacts communities and families.
“It just shows how devastating the drug culture is out there, how many lives it’ taken out there,” Chapman said. “In this case you lost two lives—not as a result of an overdose—but something that was likely as a result of a narcotics transaction.”
Supervisor Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge), himself a law enforcement officer and whose district includes that Aldie home, attended Tuesday’s press conference to congratulate law enforcement.
“On behalf the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors I want to thank you and your deputies, and the officers who assisted from the Fairfax County Police Department, for the outstanding work in quickly apprehending this suspect,” Buffington said. He added: “To anyone in Loudoun County who’s thinking of committing a crime, think twice, because you will be caught.”