Search for body to continue at Pittsburg landfill

September 5, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Investigators are wrapping up day three of a tedious search at a Pittsburg landfill where they have been combing through thousands of pounds of waste looking for the possible victim of a bizarre killing spree.

Sunday's search was day three and started at 8 a.m. and ended around 5 p.m. Police say they will keep searching here until they find a clue or finish sifting through a particular 1-acre area they are focusing on. They say the search is expected to take another 2 to 3 days.

Looking for a needle in a hay stack does not even begin to describe the task before the team of 20 searchers. It is a grisly hunt for a clue in a landfill.

"At this time, they are going through 3,000 tons of debris," Doreen Mathews with the Hercules Police Department said Sunday.

Sunday's search mirrored the same tedious process that has taken place at the Keller Canyon Landfill for three days now. An excavator collects debris one bucket at a time and by hand, volunteers and members of the Hercules Police Department sift through the trash hoping something, anything, leads them to Frederick Sales' whereabouts.

"Unfortunately, all the effort that they've put in for the last couple of days, have yielded no results," Mathews said.

The 35-year-old has not been seen since August 26 and authorities fear he could be the fifth victim in a string of murders, all at the hands of Efren Valdemoro. Before the CHP shot Valemoro dead last week following a high-speed chase, police say in a fit of jealousy, he likely killed Sales' father Ricardo and Valdemoro's girlfriend, Cindy Tran.

The Sales' rented rooms in Tran's Hercules home and investigators believe Valdemoro suspected there may have been a romantic relationship between either the father or son and Tran.

Police say Valdemoro could also be connected to the deaths of two Vallejo women also found dead last week. Valdemoro occasionally lived in Segundina Allen's home. Her husband, Charles Rittenhouse, remains in jail facing charges of having large amounts of explosives in the house, the same place where police say Rittenhouse had been living with the decomposing bodies.

It is a murder mystery that stretches through the Bay Area and so far, no new answers have turned up at the Pittsburg Landfill.

"They'll still continue to talk to friends and family," Mathews said. "Hopefully somebody will be able to provide us a lead that would lead us to the whereabouts of Frederick Sales."

The reason police have gone to the landfill is because the car Valdemoro was seen driving, which also happened to belong to Segundina Allen, was dumped at a Hercules shopping center. Valdemoro used to work at that same shopping center and all the trash from that center goes to the Keller Canyon Landfill.

Searchers will be back at the landfill Monday morning.


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