John Griffin, the father of Ashley Yamauchi's 8-year-old daughter, spoke briefly about her death at a news conference at San Rafael City Hall.
"The most devastating thing of all is that someone has taken my daughter's mom so close to Christmas " Griffin said.
Yamauchi's partially clothed body was found Tuesday morning in a parking lot behind the Fourth Street Tavern in San Rafael.
San Rafael police spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher said preliminary autopsy results showed the 33-year-old woman "suffered a traumatic death" but was not shot or stabbed.
Whether Yamauchi was sexually assaulted has not yet been determined, Rohrbacher said.
Griffin said he told his and Yamauchi's daughter about her mother's death.
"I sat my daughter down in a room and just told her her mommy died and she just cried and cried and cried and cried and cried. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do," Griffin said.
"I did tell her right away her mom died. It had to come from me. I didn't want her to find out another way," he said.
Griffin said he saw police cars as he was driving with his daughter in the area where Yamauchi's body was Tuesday morning around 7:30 a.m.
He said he thought there had been a terrorist threat or a fire but didn't see any smoke.
"It didn't cross my mind until the police told me " he said.
"I hope and pray my daughter doesn't put one and one together " he said.
Griffin and Yamauchi were not married, and their parting was amicable, griffin said.
Griffin said the slaying has been playing over and over in his mind but he can't think of anyone who would harm Yamauchi.
Yamauchi planned to study in New York City to be an aesthetician, her dream, Griffin said.
She had strong ties in San Rafael, Griffin said
"We were a close-knit family. I saw her at my daughter's recital last week," he said.
"The greatest present anyone could give would be to come forward and please contact San Rafael police," he said.