A Lexington man allegedly killed his wife and then staged her body in an SUV on a nearby roadway

The body of Shen Cai, 49, was found near Lexington High School last Thursday.

A 50-year-old Lexington man has been arrested and charged with murder after his wife was found dead behind the wheel of an SUV near the town’s high school last Thursday, authorities announced Wednesday afternoon.

Hongyan Sun is expected to be arraigned Thursday in Concord District Court, according to the Middlesex District Attorney’s office.

The body of his wife, 49-year-old Shen Cai, was discovered at 12:30 a.m. last Thursday in a white Honda CRV on the side of Worthen Road by her friends. Her friends had grown concerned after she missed two appointments Wednesday and began to search for her. They had last seen her Tuesday evening, authorities said, and she had previously told them she worried about her safety.


The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled Cai’s death a homicide by “mechanical asphyxiation,” the district attorney’s office said Wednesday.

“Investigators subsequently learned that Ms. Cai and her husband were in the process of going through a divorce and that she had reported to her friends and her attorney a history of verbal abuse and controlling behavior, as well as one prior instance of physical violence,” the district attorney’s office said. “Ms. Cai also expressed to friends that she feared for her safety.”

Cai had a daughter, and Sun has a son, The Boston Globe reported after her death. The couple met in 2013 and then married two years later, around the same time Cai moved to Massachusetts from China, according to the newspaper. Sun reportedly filed for the divorce in September, but the two remained in the same home.

On Wednesday, officials also gave a brief description of what they believe happened:

Police subsequently learned of an alleged physical altercation between Ms. Cai and Hongyan Sun on May 28 and observed injuries on both the victim and the suspect consistent with a violent struggle.

The investigation suggests that after the struggle in their home, Ms. Cai’s body was allegedly staged and left in her vehicle on Worthen Road in an apparent attempt to mislead law enforcement.

The district attorney’s office, Lexington police, and state police are investigating the case.