In some ways, it was a normal Monday for the staff at Alice’s Restaurant on Skyline Boulevard. The popular establishment closed at about 8:30 p.m. the night of June 17, and servers and cooks cleaned up and prepared for the next day’s opening shift.
Then everything changed. About an hour after the crew departed for the day, law enforcement swarmed the wooded area of unincorporated San Mateo County above Woodside. San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputies had found a 32-year-old taxi cab driver dead on the west shoulder of the road, near the El Corte de Madera Creek Preserve.
“It definitely spooked some of the staff. This stuff doesn’t happen here,” said Harleigh Stoltz, manager of Alice’s Restaurant.
The man, later identified as Abdulmalek Nasher, had been fatally stabbed. It would be the first of two homicides reported in the same area on Skyline Boulevard in as many days.
Evenings are typically quiet in the mostly residential stretch of Skyline Boulevard. There isn’t much traffic. That is why residents were so shocked when Nasher and 31-year-old John Sione Pekipaki were both killed, allegedly by a 26-year-old Pacifica man near a remote area of Skyline Boulevard by Reid’s Roost Road.
After Nasher was found dead on that Monday evening, investigators returned to the area the following night, searching for more evidence.
That is when they say they heard someone calling for help. Pekipaki was found suffering from stab wounds and later died.
Meanwhile, Malik Dosouqi was allegedly spotted by law enforcement attempting to leave the scene.
“A deputy fired at the oncoming vehicle, which was driving toward the victim and both deputies,” said San Mateo County Sheriff’s Lt. Stephanie Josephson. “The suspect was not hit by gunfire, but the vehicle went off the roadway and into a ditch.”
Dosouqi, who is in custody at the San Mateo County jail and being held without bail, is charged with the murders of Nasher and Pekipaki. He is also facing additional charges of using a deadly weapon and inflicting great bodily injury for each killing. Prosecutors are seeking special circumstance enhancements because of the multiple murders. Authorities theorize that both victims may have been lured to the area by Dosouqi.
Stoltz said she was not working on Monday, but her staff informed her many had left that evening not long after the first homicide victim was found. She said that very rarely do cab services come through the area. Stoltz, who lives in El Granada, has been working as manager of Alice’s for about four years. This is the only instance she can recall of a death in the area.
“It was an interesting couple of days, because the SWAT team was up here and the police were up here,” said Jodi Behrens, cashier at Skywood Trading Post. “People were just gathering and bonding together. This kind of thing is so unusual, so people were shocked.”
Nasher is remembered for his love for his home country of Yemen and its people. On Saturday, family and friends gathered to mourn the loss of the 32-year-old at a funeral service at Fiji Jamaat Ul Islam of America mosque in South San Francisco.
Nasher worked as an independent cab driver and the owner of Skyline Yellow Cab, providing for his wife and young daughter.
“He was always willing to help his people,” said Mansoor Ismael, the Yemeni consul general based in San Francisco who has known Nasher for more than a decade. The two met during a celebration marking the remembrance of Yemen’s Unification Day.
A few days before the killing, Ismael said Nasher joined him at an area mosque for prayer, and he shared some good news.
“He said he had just gotten a new apartment in Daly City,” Ismael said.
“As he was leaving on Monday night, his daughter asked to come along,” Ismael said of the fateful night. “He refused, but promised to bring back some ice cream for her.
“It makes me cry. His daughter is still asking for her father to come back, (saying) ‘Where is my father?’” Ismael said.
Half Moon Bay resident Nickie Bagai said she and her husband used Nasher’s cab services for over a year, twice a month, for date nights.
“He was such a friendly person and we would always have lengthy conversations about religion, family,” Bagai said. “He was a very dedicated husband and father.”
Bagai recalls Nasher would often share photos of his now 4-year-old daughter.
“He was just a warm, hardworking father and husband,” Bagai said. “He was a valued member for his family, community and also the Coastside.”
Pekipaki recently started his job at Specialty Towing earlier this year, according to multiple published reports. San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said that he believes that at least Pekipaki was lured to the area and that he may have managed to break the arm of his assailant in a scuffle. Dosouqi appeared in court on Monday with his arm in a cast.
Pekipaki, a father to two children, an 11-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter, lived in East Palo Alto.
Members of Pekipaki’s family described him as a hard worker, caring man, and someone who was loyal to his family and children, according to published reports.
“It is just puzzling and very unusual,” said longtime Woodside resident Megyn Lansing. “Everyone looks after each other up here.”
Investigators are still trying to determine if there is a connection between the three people, but they do not believe there is another suspect, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.
Dosouqi had his first court appearance on June 24. He is due for arraignment on July 8.