Two Bay Area residents found dead inside a van near Fort Bragg were each shot once in the head, Mendocino County Sheriff's authorities revealed Tuesday.

No other details about the killings are being released at this time, said Mendocino County Sheriff's Capt. Greg Van Patten.

"It's under investigation," he said.

The bodies of Jim Tat Kong, 51, of San Pablo and Cindy Bao Chen, 38, of San Francisco, were found Oct. 17 by motorcycle riders who met at the location — just off Highway 20 about 3 miles east of Fort Bragg — before going on a ride, Van Patten said.

The motorcycle riders noticed the van and two people inside when they first arrived at the site but did not think it was suspicious at that time, he said. They thought the occupants were asleep in the front seats but investigated further when they returned a few hours later and the van was still there, Van Patten said.

On closer inspection, they saw blood on the face of one of the victims and phoned law enforcement, Van Patten said.

He said it remains unclear why the victims were in Mendocino County, but their trip may have been business-related.

Van Patten said he doesn't know how long they had been dead, but he doesn't believe it was for more than a day.

Attempts by The Press Democrat to reach family of the victims have been unsuccessful.

Anyone with information about the double homicide is asked to contact the sheriff's tip line: 234-2100.

You can reach Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 462-6473 or