Family, friends and members of the Vietnamese community gathered Friday night to share their memories of Campbell's Cindy Nguyen during an emotional candlelight vigil.
A radio talk-show host, office manager and mother of three, Nguyen, 60, was carjacked and kidnapped on Sept. 16 while shopping at The Plant Shopping Center in San Jose, the site where she was carjacked and kidnapped.
During the memorial’s peak, a crowd of about 2,500 people attended the event near Rubio’s and Target at The Plant shopping center, according to an officer with the San Jose Police Department.
Speakers and crowd members lit candles and laid flowers in honor of Nguyen; some shared their tears as well as their prayers.
The event was organized by her employer, Nick Pham, who said he was overwhelmed by the support of the community, both in attendance and on Facebook.
“I know Cindy is looking down,” he said. “She left big, big shoes for us to fill.”
The memorial was peaceful and reflective. The speakers honored the memories of Nguyen and her love of the community.
Louis Montalvo worked with Nguyen at PN Real Estate Group for eight years and was one of the speakers who shared his memories with the crowd.
“She will be missed, but never forgotten, because she changed the lives around us,” Montalvo said.
Many San Jose police officers were in attendance and were publicly thanked by multiple speakers.
Thuy Tien Thinh of San Jose said she went to the vigil to show her support for the Vietnamese community and was not surprised by the large turnout.
“Part of the reason is that she is a public figure in the Vietnamese community,” she said. “Those who know her want to express their thoughts and feelings.”
Veronica Gonzales of San Jose was Nguyen’s neighbor 10 years ago. She said she got to know the family and Nguyen’s children during that time.
“This is something good for the family, to help them see how many people love Cindy,” she said. “She was a very generous person. A nice person, a good neighbor, a great human being.
Paul Ray Castillo, the man suspected of kidnapping and murdering Nguyen, was arrested in West Sacramento on Sept. 18, San Jose police said.
He was arraigned Wednesday in a San Jose court but has yet to enter a plea.