Chemist linked to murder spree released from jail


During a bail hearing in Vallejo on Wednesday morning a judge reduced bail for Charles Rittenhouse, 72, from $2 million to $25,000, Solano County Deputy District Attorney Michael Mullins said.

He was released Wednesday afternoon.

Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty to two felony charges of unlawful possession of an explosive and possession of materials with intent to make an explosive device without a permit.

So far, Rittenhouse has not been charged with any crimes related to the discovery of the bodies, which were those of his wife, 63-year-old Segundina Allen, and her friend, 60-year-old Marcaria Smart, Mullins said.

The bodies were found at Rittenhouse's home on Upland Court on Aug. 31 while police were following up on reports that the women were missing.

Police believe that the murders could be connected to murder suspect Efren Valdemoro, 38, who often stayed at Rittenhouse's home and borrowed his wife's car, a Cadillac Escalade, with or without permission, Vallejo police said.

Valdemoro is believed to have killed at least two other people before he was shot to death by California Highway Patrol officers following a high-speed chase Aug. 31.

The first victim, 73-year-old Ricardo Sales, was found bludgeoned to death in his home on Crepe Myrtle Drive in Hercules on Aug. 28, although police believe he was killed the day before.

Ricardo Sales and his son Frederick Sales, 35, rented rooms from Valdemoro's girlfriend, 46-year-old Cindy Tran, Hercules police said. Frederick Sales has been missing since Aug. 28.

Hercules police have been searching for Frederick Sales' possible remains at the Keller Canyon Landfill in Pittsburg since Friday after Allen's Cadillac, which Valdemoro had been driving, was found at a business park in Hercules.

The search of the landfill resumed today, but so far investigators haven't found anything, Hercules police spokeswoman Doreen Mathews said.

After Valdemoro was killed, Tran's body was found in the passenger seat of the car he was driving. She had been strangled.

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