A Central Point truck driver was stabbed in a double homicide Tuesday morning at a wholesale auto auction yard in an industrial area of Hayward, Calif.

A Central Point truck driver was stabbed in a double homicide Tuesday morning at a wholesale auto auction yard in an industrial area of Hayward, Calif.

James Wightman, 56, who routinely delivered automobiles to the auction, and 63-year-old security guard Angelito Erasquin of Hayward were found dead near the entrance of the massive Bay Area auction lot early Tuesday. The Alameda County Coroner's Office released their identities Wednesday afternoon.

Police were called at about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday when passers-by spotted Erasquin's body in the street just outside the front gate of Manheim San Francisco Bay Auto Auction and reported that he might have been the victim of a hit-and-run. Initial news reports indicated a vehicle had rammed the gates of the business, where Erasquin had worked as a uniformed guard for a decade.

Arriving officers determined Erasquin was dead and found Wightman's body in the cab of an idling big-rig parked near the entrance of the 73-acre auction yard that houses more than 2,000 cars.

Investigators have concluded that both men suffered multiple stab wounds in what was described in a Hayward police news release as "a brutal double homicide." As of Wednesday afternoon when the release was issued, police hadn't made any arrests nor identified a suspect or motive.

Initial news reports speculated that robbery or theft might have been a motivating factor, but the ongoing investigation has been unable to confirm that, police said in Wednesday's release.

"We are still working to determine the facts that led up to the stabbings," investigators' statement said.

The massive wholesale car lot was locked down for much of Tuesday while detectives searched the grounds for evidence and hiding suspects.

When news of the lockdown reached Medford, employees at Dick's Towing, Maynard Hadley Towing and TK Transport LLC nervously awaited word on what was going on.

"We knew we had trucks down there while they were in lockdown," said Teresa Manderach, office manager for the family of companies where Wightman had worked for about 23 years.

But they didn't know whether their drivers were simply sequestered or had been caught up in the violence until police finished interviews.

"The waiting was the hardest part," Manderach said.

And in the end, the news was bad.

A man she had known for 16 years and described as a loyal employee and friend was dead.

"He's been a part of this valley for a long time," Manderach said.

Wightman had adult children and grandchildren in the area, said Manderach, who declined to provide details about the family. Jackson County Circuit Court records show that he was twice divorced.

"He was a character," Manderach said, recalling him as a jokester with a great sense of humor.

When he drove a tow truck for Maynard Hadley and she worked as a dispatcher, he would call in and disguise his voice to keep them guessing about the caller's identity. When the dispatchers would figure out who he was and tell him to stop it, "he would laugh and laugh," she said.

Wightman drove a tow truck for many years, then, in 2004, he bought a car-hauler and began driving as an owner-operator for TK Transport, regularly delivering and collecting vehicles from the Hayward wholesale auction.

In Wednesday's news release, investigators indicated that, based on evidence and other information collected at the crime scene, they have strong leads in the case. At that time, they hadn't yet identified any suspects, but expected to have additional information soon.

Crime Stoppers of Southern Alameda County is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 541-776-4485, or e-mail aburke@mailtribune.com.