Ricardo Torres-Cortez / AP
Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019 | 4:48 p.m.
Flowers and candles surrounded a photo of Ngoc Q. Nguyen at a Las Vegas nail salon this afternoon, just four days after police say the manicurist was hit by a car and killed as she chased a client who took off without paying.
Nguyen didn’t pose for many photos, her daughter Anne Trinh said. But in this one, Nguyen wore a cream-colored dress with her hair in curls to her shoulders.
The 51-year-old native of Vietnam and her boyfriend, who witnessed the tragic incident, operated the salon, which is tucked in a shopping center on Flamingo Road and Decatur Boulevard, Trinh said. The Clark County Coroner’s Office ruled Nguyen’s death a homicide.
Nguyen’s work station, where she applied acrylic nails, sat empty today, multi-colored plastic nails sitting untouched on a table.
Metro Police, meanwhile, said they were continuing to search for the unidentified client, who after saying she was going to her car to grab money after her credit card was declined, knocked down Nguyen with the vehicle and dragged her some 50 feet.
Lt. Ray Spencer on Saturday said the car, which was ditched at a nearby apartment complex, was a rental that had been reported stolen.
Nguyen moved from Vietnam to the United States in 1990, when Trinh was a baby, her daughter said. She later gave birth to two more daughters and as a single mother, provided for her children, mother and brother, Trinh said.
In 2009, she settled in Bullhead City, Ariz., and became a manicurist. Trinh, who lives in California, said her mother’s customers described Nguyen as “very nice, very accommodating to every single one of her clients.”
After Nguyen relocated to Las Vegas in 2016 and opened up her own shop, one of her clients form Arizona would make the roughly 100 mile trip just to see her and get her nails done, Trinh said. “I know she’s very proud of her work,” Trihn said.
Clients have been dropping by the store to leave flowers and hug family members, who are now helping keep the salon open, Trinh said. “We do have employees, and they do have families of their own, and they do need work to survive,” she said.
Trinh had been in Las Vegas visiting her mother last week and had just flown back to California when she received news of the death. Now, she’s trying to make sense of what life will be like without her mother.
“It made me realize how dependent we are on her. Even today, we’re all older, we’re all adults and we all depend on her,” she said. “Now that she’s gone, we have to step it up.”
Nguyen’s family has set up a GoFundMe memorial fundraiser.
Anyone with information about the incident should contact Metro at 702-828-3521 or via email at [email protected]. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555 or online at crimestoppersofnv.com.