SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 21 -- Police late Monday found a car driven by a Ukrainian immigrant suspected of slaughtering five members of his extended family, including two children.
"We were doing a search of the area, just a routine search, and one of the units happened to see the vehicle," said Lt. Steve Ahee, a watch commander with the Sacramento Sheriff's Department.
Nikolay Soltys, 27, remains at large. His missing 3-year-old son was not in the vehicle. Police discovered his 1995 Nissan Altima in a Sacramento parking lot behind a home improvement store.
It was believed that Soltys might have his 3-year-old son with him; the youngster has not been seen since the rampage began Monday morning.
"We certainly are looking for help in locating Nikolay," Sacramento Sheriff's Sgt. James Lewis told reporters. "We consider him to be armed and dangerous, and we don't suggest anyone try to approach him."
The motive for the slayings in suburban communities of North Highlands and Rancho Cordova remained unclear although it appeared that Soltys had flown into a rage that lasted long enough for him to allegedly kill his wife in North Highlands and then drive 10 miles to Rancho Cordova where he stormed the home of his aunt and uncle, killing the couple inside and two of his young cousins outside.
"These are two extremely violent crime scenes," Sheriff's Capt. John McGinness said. "The potential for additional violence is of great concern to us."
Investigators said they could not confirm a tip from a witness who said he had seen a silver car with a man and small boy in it driving north toward Oregon, and said that Soltys might be heading to a major city with a large Russian or Ukrainian immigrant community.
Soltys recently settled in the Sacramento area's own sizable Ukrainian community, and police translators who speak Russian had to be dispatched to the scene to help detectives interview neighbors who speak limited English.
Deputies were also trying to track down other relatives to make sure Soltys had not showed up at their doors unexpectedly.
"We are in the process of trying to contact them," said Sheriff's Sgt. James Lewis. "We want to account for all of the family to eliminate the possibility there could be additional victims."
Investigators said it appeared that Soltys stabbed his 27-year-old wife -- who police say sustained significant trauma to her upper torso -- in their home in suburban North Highlands around 10 a.m. PDT (1 p.m. EDT) Monday morning. He then told a stunned neighbor what he had done and fled the scene; the neighbor called police.
As officers arrived at the North Highlands duplex, another call was received of an attack at another home in nearby Rancho Cordova.
"While we were investigating that incident, we received the call of another incident and found two elderly victims inside the house who were pronounced dead and another child on the front porch who was pronounced dead," Lewis said. "We also transported another child to UC Davis Medical Center in critical condition."
The youngster, a 9-year-old girl, was pronounced dead on arrival of stab wounds, according to a hospital spokeswoman, who said she had died on the way to the hospital.
Lewis told reporters later in the day that witnesses had reported seeing Soltys at both crime scenes during the morning. One witness told Fox News it appeared to him that Soltys had cut down his 10-year-old cousin in Rancho Cordoba as the boy ran to greet him.
His sister was found dead in the street, indicating she may have been trying to get away when she was fatally injured, deputies said. Emergency crews were initially sent to the scene believing the little girl had been hit by a car.
The victims were at first reported to be Soltys' in-laws and two of his own children, however the sheriff's department later identified the elderly couple as his aunt and uncle and the dead children as the victims' grandchildren and Soltys' cousins.
"In terms of a motive, we still have no idea," Sheriff's Capt. John McGinness told reporters. "As we get into contact with more people, we may get a sense as to what prompted this level of violence."