A mummified body found in the wall of Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center in Oakland, California, has been identified as Joseph Edward Mejica, 42, who vanished nearly two years ago, the coroner’s office said on Tuesday.
According to Lt. Ray Kelly of the Almeda County Sheriff’s Office, the body was found in March by a construction crew doing remodeling work at the historic downtown building. A worker noticed what appeared to be a deceased human body in a wall that was being deconstructed.
Kelly stated that the conditions in the walls helped preserve the body, which was able to later be identified by Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau as Joseph Edward Mejica. His cause of death has not been confirmed.
Previously, authorities state they believed the death was accidental and that the person died toward the top of the wall. ‘
“Over time his body slowly decayed and slipped toward the bottom of the cavity space,” Lt. Federick Shavies said in a March news conference. “No obvious trauma was observed to the victim’s skeletal remains. No obvious or unnatural trauma was found indicating foul play. Based on the positionality the victim’s body was found in, this tragic death is most likely an accidental death.”
The coroner’s office said Mejica was first reported missing in August 2020. In a 2020 Facebook post, the Oakland Police Department said Mejica was known to visit homeless encampments in the city. His family also offered a $5,000 reward for more information regarding their family member.
“Any theory could be possible,” he said. “It could be anything from someone who got in behind the wall and became trapped and died to someone put the person there. God only knows.”
The convention center was approved for a redevelopment project in 2015 and is the turning sit into a mixed-use performing arts venue
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