OAKLAND, CA – Human remains were uncovered inside a suitcase at Lake Merritt on Tuesday morning. The Oakland Fire Department, in collaboration with local volunteers responsible for lake cleanup, made the grisly find around 11 a.m., raising questions and concerns about the circumstances surrounding this unsettling event.
The victim, identified as a man in his 30s, was found inside the suitcase near the Lake Merritt shoreline, precisely at the intersection of Lakeshore and Hanover Avenues. Lake Merritt, often regarded as Oakland’s prized jewel and a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and joggers, was the site of this disturbing Halloween discovery.
Kevin Shomo, a dedicated volunteer from the Lake Merritt Institute who participates in the lake’s weekly cleaning efforts, described the shocking moment when they stumbled upon the suitcase. “We kind of pulled it towards us closer using these net poles,” Shomo recalled. They attempted to lift it out but soon realized its weight was formidable. “We grabbed one end and we realized it was too heavy. So we pulled it close enough to us and we said, ‘Oh wow, this thing is heavy,’ so we unzipped it, and that’s what we found,” Shomo explained, detailing the discovery of the remains, the victim contorted within the suitcase in a fetal position.
Oakland’s police homicide investigators and Alameda County coroner’s investigators swiftly responded to the scene. Oakland police Capt. Alan Yu disclosed that crucial aspects of the investigation were yet to be determined, including the origins of the suitcase in the water and the potential connection of the victim to any missing persons reports. “Part of the investigation is trying to determine where the body could have floated from. It could be any part of the lake, and we’re looking at all those possible outcomes,” Yu stated.
A growing crowd gathered at Lake Merritt, their emotions ranging from shock to horror as they observed the disturbing scene on Halloween. Angela Massella, one of the witnesses, described her initial sighting of the suitcase protruding from the water earlier in the morning.
In light of this unsettling discovery, Oakland police have urged anyone with surveillance footage or information regarding suspicious activity related to the body to come forward, as the investigation continues to unfold.