The coworker of one of four Bay Area residents whose killings have been linked to a man shot dead by California Highway Patrol officers Tuesday night said the man would often stop by the Vallejo beauty salon where the victim worked to visit her.
Cindy Tran, 46, worked at Devyn's Salon and Spa at 158 Robles Way and was finishing her shift on Tuesday when her boyfriend, 38-year-old Efren Valdemoro, showed up, said Sandra Le, an aesthetician at the salon.
"Her last appointment was at 5:30," Le said.
Valdemoro arrived about an hour later, and Tran drove off with him in his car, Le said.
Several hours after that, Valdemoro was shot and killed by CHP officers at the Rancho 99 Market near Interstate Highway 80 in Richmond after a police chase that began in Pleasant Hill.
Tran was found dead in the car outside the market, CHP Officer Trent Cross said. She had suffered wounds to her head and neck.
Le said it is unclear whether Tran was forced into Valdemoro's car Tuesday evening. She said one other person was working at the salon at the time and wasn't aware of a struggle.
Tran had been dating Valdemoro for about two years, and he would often show up at the salon to see her, Le said.
"He comes by all the time," she said.
"He was very nonchalant about things and he'd come in the salon and not say hello to anyone and have a seat, and just kind of eye her and wait for her," Le said.
She said he was a little "weird" but that there was nothing to indicate he was dangerous.
Le said the employees at the salon are like a family.
"We all know each other's lives," she said.
Tran had never mentioned any physical abuse, but Le said she and Valdemoro had gone through rocky periods in their relationship.
"There's just been a lot going on in the past couple of weeks, arguments about money," Le said. "She wanted to get out of the relationship, but at the same time she loved him. I think that she was just blinded by his love."
Valdemoro is also believed to be linked to the murders of two Vallejo women, Segundia Allen, 63, and Marcaria Smart, 60, whose bodies were found at a Vallejo home on Tuesday afternoon.
Additionally, police believe Valdemoro killed 73-year-old Ricardo Sales, who was found bludgeoned to death in the bedroom of his Hercules home on Saturday.
Investigators are still looking for Sales' son, 35-year-old Frederick Sales, who was reported missing Saturday shortly before his father's body was found.
Police said this afternoon that Tran owned and lived at the Crepe Myrtle Drive house where the father and son also lived.