Police returned to a Pittsburg, Calif., landfill today, searching for the body of a man they said could be the fifth victim in a suspected killing spree that left three women and another man dead.
Two dozen searchers and a cadaver dog already spent seven hours Friday sifting by hand through 3,000 tons of debris at the Keller Canyon Landfill, searching for the body of missing 35-year-old Frederick Sales.
"The tipping area is dirt, over garbage; it's very solid," Keller Canyon Landfill spokesman Rick King told ABC News San Francisco station KGO-TV.
Sales' father, Ricardo Sales, 73, was found dead in the Hercules, Calif. home he shared with his son on Aug. 28, and police believe he had been bludgeoned to death the day before.
Efren Valdemoro, a suspect in the murder, was shot and killed by police in Richmond, when he would not drop a meat cleaver following a high-speed chase.
The body of Valdemoro's girlfriend Cindy Tran, 46, was then found in his car. Valdemore had allegedly abducted her earlier that day and strangled her before the chase began, police said.
Police in several jurisdictions are working on the case, but investigators have said they believe the killings may have been triggered by a fight on Aug. 22 between Valdemore and the Saleses, who lived in Tran's home.
According to police report on that incident, Ricardo Sales confronted Valdemoro that day about a letter Valdemoro had posted on his door accusing him of interfering with his relationship with Tran.
Someone called 911 after the two men began to fight, and by the time police arrived the father and son were restraining a naked Valdemoro on the floor, according to the report.
Frederick Sales has not been seen for more than a week, but police did find his car.
"Our hope is that he is alive," Hercules Police Department Michelle Harrington said Friday as investigators searched the landfill. "We're hoping that we don't find Frederick, but we have to search."
A spokeswoman from the Hercules Police Department said investigators believe his body could be in the landfill because it contains garbage that came from a business park in that town where Valdemoro used to work.
Investigators found the car of one of the murder victims at the business park, she said.
"The area that they're searching is solid waste that came from the North Shore Business Park, which as you know, was where the Cadillac Escalade was discovered," Hercules police spokesperson Michelle Harrington said. Police Investigating Second Suspect Police are also investigating whether Valdemoro is responsible for the murders of two women whose bodies were found Tuesday at theVallejo, Calif. home of a 72-year-old chemist, and whether that man might also be linked to the killing spree.
Charles Rittenhouse, who was arraigned Friday on charges of possessing bomb-making materials, is a person of interest in the murders of those two women, police have said, but he has not been charged in connection with the killings.
Rittenhouse, who was once a housemate of Valdemoro, entered a plea of not guilty on the explosives charges and was held on $2 million bail, which was set at a higher level because of allegations that he may also be involved in the murders.
The Contra Costa County coroner's office identified the two women as Marcaria Smart, 60, and Rittenhouse's 63-year-old wife, Segundina Allen.
"He's a victim in all this," Rittenhouse's attorney Leslie Prince said Friday outside the Fairfield County court house.
He said Rittenhouse did not know the women's bodies were in the house.
"I have reason to believe the bodies were just put there sometime that day, Tuesday, the day of his arrest," Prince said.
Rittenhouse was at work on Tuesday when the bodies were found in his home, and the first he knew of them was when he got home and was met by police, the lawyer said.
Investigators said he did not act normal when confronted with information that the bodies were in his house, according to KGO-TV.
Police have previously responded to reported disputes between Valdemoro and Rittenhouse's wife, victim Segundina Allen.
Rittenhouse had C4, dynamite and possible depleted uranium found in his backyard, police said.