Cindy Nguyen was out running errands at The Plant Shopping Center in San Jose. Her car battery had died and she called her friends and colleagues at PN Real Estate for help. Five minutes later, she called back and said some good Samaritan had stopped to help.
This was the last time good friend and colleague Nick Pham heard from the 60-year-old Campbell resident.
Nguyen, a radio talk show host and mother of three, was carjacked and kidnapped on Sept. 16. Her body was found the next day.
The family has not been given Nguyen's body yet, but anticipate that taking place today, Pham said at a press conference this afternoon.
"I still have hope that it’s not her," he said with a shaky voice and tears in his eyes.
The family first suspected something amiss when Nguyen, who never forgets to pick up her daughter from school every day at 2:30 p.m. did not show up.
"We had also heard the news of what had happened. Police were looking for a white Camry and Cindy drives a Lexus," Pham said. "A Lexus could easily have been mistaken for a Camry."
It was at that point that Pham called 911 and reported Nguyen as a missing person because of the location of the carjacking being reported and the last known location of Nguyen.
"It was just too much of a coincidence," he said.
Paul Ray Castillo, the man wanted in connection with a crime spree that included the kidnapping and murder of a Campbell woman, was arrested in West Sacramento at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 18 San Jose police said.
Castillo, a 33-year-old parolee, is currently being transported to San Jose, police spokesman Jose Garcia said.
Castillo began his alleged crime spree around 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 when the suspect shot a 42-year-old man during a robbery at a Chevron gas station on Lincoln Avenue.
The victim was taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and is expected to survive. The suspect fled the scene in a Nissan 300Z that had been reported stolen 9 days earlier.
The car was later found at The Plant shopping center at Monterey Road and Curtner Avenue, about a mile from the gas station.
Nguyen was carjacked at the shopping center at around noon. Her body was found at 8 a.m. Saturday in a home on the 500 block of North 12th Street.
Castillo has ties to the home where she was found, according to police.
"I really want all of us to really think about what we can do to stop this senseless violence," Pham said.
The Candlelit Celebration for Cindy Nguyen is this Friday, Sept. 23 at The Plant Shopping Center in San Jose, in the parking lot near Rubio's-Target, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
The family encourages everyone to bring a friend, a candle or two to share.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced as of Sept. 19, noon. A trust fund is being established for her three children.
Bay City News contributed to this article.