The Google engineer accused of beating his wife to death inside their California, USA home was “quiet and staring blankly” at dinner the night before the murder, according to a friend who ate with the couple.

The unnamed friend joined Liren Chen and his wife Xuanyi Yu, who also worked for the tech company, for supper at the couple’s $2 million home in Santa Clara on January 17, according to court documents obtained by the Daily Mail.

The friend told police that he was worried over the “noticeable change in Chen’s demeanour,” according to the documents.

When neither Chen nor Yu answered his phone calls the next morning, the friend stopped by their house and still neither answered the door, the Santa Clara District Attorney said.
But he saw Chen, 27, inside “motionless on his knees, had his hands in the air and was staring blankly” and called police at around 11 a.m. for a welfare check.

When police made their way into the home, they found Yu’s body with severe blunt force injuries to the head on the floor of the couple’s bedroom behind where Chen had been kneeling, officials said.

Chen’s clothes, legs, arms and hands were “spattered with blood,” according to the DA.

He said: “I punched my wife” when asked by first responders how he hurt his hand, according to the documents seen by the Daily Mail.

The software engineer’s arms were covered in scratches and his right arm was “extremely swollen and purple,” the DA said previously.

He was charged with murder and remains in police custody.

Chen was a software engineer who worked on a YouTube Shorts recommendation algorithm for Google, according to his LinkedIn profile. Yu was also a software engineer for the tech giant and previously worked for Amazon, according to her profile.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by what has happened to Xuanyi,” Google spokesperson Bailey Tomson said in a statement on Saturday night, January 20.

“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.”

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

The couple had lived in their home in Santa Clara for less than a year after they purchased it for $2.05 million last spring. Neighbours told the publication they moved into the house in April and didn’t associate with neighbours.