REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – A relative of Tanya Tandoc, the Fil-Am restaurant owner who was found allegedly murdered by her housemate last Thursday in Wichita, Kan., described her as “loving and accepting of all persons.”
“She modeled what I describe as ‘radical hospitality’,” Tandoc’s cousin Melissa Tandoc Tumaneng said.
She added that Tandoc was a person who was “so comfortable in their own skin that they encourage you to be yourself.”
The 45-year-old Tandoc owned the popular Wichita restaurant Tanya’s Soup Kitchen and was not only a local foodie celebrity, she was a cellist in the local music scene, as well.
She had a brother and sister, and her parents, Valentin and Bonnie Tandoc, are doctors in the nearby town of Newton.
According to reports, Tandoc knew the man charged in in her murder — 47-year-old Curtis Mitchell — through music gigs in the area.
Reports say that when Mitchell’s guitar shop faced closure and he fell on hard times, Tandoc helped him out by allowing him to live in the basement of her home.
Last Thursday, police found Tandoc dead in her basement after Mitchell allegedly confessed in a 911 call that he killed her in a “crime of passion”.
Reports say Tandoc had asked Mitchell to move out because he was verbally abusive toward her.
Tumaneng said she and her family were unaware of any further information surrounding Tandoc’s murder beyond what has already been reported.
“We’re trying to understand a senseless murder and I’m not sure if it’s understandable,” Tumaneng said. “I myself am having a hard time understanding how such a bright light on this earth who was doing so much good is no longer with us.”
A celebration of Tandoc’s life is being held Thursday afternoon at the Wichita Orpheum Theater.
A Facebook page created for the celebration shows at least a thousand people plan to attend.