MARTINEZ -- As Danéil Greaves' 8-year-old son received his second-grade graduation diploma, she got the call.

A chill went up the Walnut Creek mother's spine as she listened to the caller, while the ceremony, another bittersweet family milestone missed by her husband, killed while cycling two years earlier, continued in a muted haze.

The woman charged with fatally injuring her husband with her car jumped bail on a one-way ticket to China.

A panicked Greaves had a friend watch her two children, jumped into her car and drove directly to the Danville house of defendant Hong Guo. It was the start of Greaves' ongoing efforts to track down the woman who sent her life spinning -- and she vowed to find her, even if that meant hiring a fugitive hunter.

No one was home that afternoon, but Greaves could see Guo's young daughters' backpacks on a kitchen table. She sat outside for a half-hour before leaving Guo's ex-husband a note encouraging him to help bring Guo back.

"It was a surreal moment with a rush of emotions," said Greaves, a John Muir Medical Center ER nurse. "Now I'm just really pissed."

Prosecutors say Guo, 43, flew to Beijing in May, six weeks before her long-awaited preliminary hearing on felony vehicular manslaughter charges in the June 26, 2009, death of John Greaves, a 44-year-old Morgan Stanley Smith Barney branch manager and avid cyclist.

Attorneys dispute what happened on Camino Tassajara near the Alameda County line that day, with the DA's office saying that Guo drove with gross negligence and the defense saying John Greaves is to blame and Guo should not have been charged with a crime.

Guo, a Chinese national and legal U.S. resident, was required by a judge to surrender her passport before she posted a $50,000 bail bond; prosecutors now see that passport was long expired, leading them to speculate she used a newer passport to leave the country. Deputy district attorney Simon OConnell said he's been working with federal authorities to locate her.

"I suspect she intentionally turned in an old passport," OConnell said. "This leads me to believe she had no intention of availing herself to the judicial process.

"This is a non-drug, non-DUI, non-road rage vehicular manslaughter. She had no criminal record, and she didn't flee the scene. For all intents and purposes, she was going to get probation," OConnell said. "She's made this a lot more difficult on herself."

OConnell is now in the process of filing a new felony charge: willful failure to appear, punishable by up to three years in prison. Last month, he had a no-bail warrant issued for her arrest.

Redondo Beach defense attorney Evan Freed said Guo contacted him in June, a month after she left the country, and said she had to go to China to care for her ailing parents. He said he is in constant email contact with Guo and, now that her parents are better, she wants to come back but cannot get a visa because of her pending felony charge. She is devastated over the accident, and now she's struggling with not being able to see her children, Freed said.

"Had she asked before, I would have told her not to go," Freed said. "I can't tell you whether or not she's ever going to come back. My guess is she's never coming back."

Danéil Greaves said she's long been frustrated by defense motions and continuances in the case, and she is disgusted that Guo says the accident was her husband's fault. A wrongful-death lawsuit she filed against Guo on behalf of Greaves' children has an October trial date. She will find Guo herself if the government's efforts turn fruitless, she said.

"I'm ready to hire a bounty hunter to go get her," Greaves said. "I'll have brownie sales, cookie sales to raise money if I have to."

Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.