The son of a highly-acclaimed cybersecurity expert has been charged with his mother’s murder after she was found stabbed to death at her home.
Juanita Koilpillai, 58, was described by colleagues as ‘a genius’. Born in Sri Lanka, she moved to the U.S. in the early 1980s to study at the University of Kansas, and blazed a trail in the largely white, male sector – eventually founding a firm that counted the federal government among its clients.
Her son Andrew Beavers, 23, was arrested on July 31.
Police have not yet released a motive.
Juanita Koilpillai, 58, was found stabbed to death on July 25. Her son Andrew Beavers, 23, has been charged with her murder
Koilpillai’s boyfriend had called police on July 25 to report her missing, saying there was blood inside the home she shared with her son in Tracy’s Landing, Maryland.
Police found her body dumped outside with multiple stab wounds.
Her car was missing, and the next day they found her son with the car and what appeared to be the murder weapon. A forensic analysis of the knife found both his and his mother’s DNA on the weapon.
He had a cut on his hand which he could not explain.
Beavers was arrested at a house in Leesburg, Virginia and remains in custody.
Koilpillai lived in the Tracy’s Landing home with her son Andrew. Her body was found outside the home, after her boyfriend called police
‘I’ll say she was a certifiable genius,’ said Dr Ron Martin, a close friend and professor at Capitol Technology University.
He said she served as a mentor to a new generation of cybersecurity professionals.
‘She was always willing to help out students.
‘I would always refer students to her that were in the cyber realm, and she would give them guidance and counsel.’
Koilpillai was described by friends as a talented gardener, a celebrated chef, a charismatic hostess and a brilliant technology professional who flew planes and traveled widely
Friends who spoke to The Capital Gazette described her as a talented gardener, a celebrated chef, a charismatic hostess and a brilliant technology professional.
She flew planes and produced community films with her ex-husband and traveled the world with her friends and their families.
She worked in computer security and network management for 30 years, also acting as a consultant to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, her friend Connie Moore told the paper.
Koilpillai was a member of FEMA’s enterprise security management team and served as a principle investigator for several U.S. Department of Defense initiatives, according to her biography for Cloud Security Alliance.
Partnered with her ex-husband, Koilpillai created Cyberwolf, an advanced automated attack warning system used by the government. They later sold the company to cybersecurity software company Symantec.
‘To grow a startup into a great company and then sell it to a bigger technology company was an incredible accomplishment,’ Moore told the paper.
‘But to do it as a woman, to do it as a as a person of color, just speaks volumes about her tenacity, about her brilliance, about her business acumen, about her technology expertise.
‘It was extraordinary.’
Moore said that she took sailing lessons, started a flourishing garden, and delighted in taking photos of marina sunsets and wildlife.
She also founded The Merge Foundation, that worked to mentor students, help them establish relationships with potential employers and hone their expertise in art, film-making, investments, and business, according to the foundation’s website.
‘She was just so happy in that element,’ Moore said.
‘We never could understand how she did it all. Because her friends were friends that did it all too, but we didn’t do it all at her level.
‘She was off the charts, living a full life in every aspect.’