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Mummified Body Discovered in Wall of California Convention Center

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The Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center near downtown Oakland in California has been a fixture in the community for over 100 years.

Built in 1914, the building “is an Oakland-designated historic landmark and has been rated ‘A’ (Highest Importance) by the Oakland Cultural Survey,” according to the city’s website.

The convention center fell into disuse and was closed in 2005 when the “operating costs became too expensive to sustain,” Oakland said on a page about its adaptive reuse project for the venue. About 10 years later, the city began work to get approval to renovate the space and turn it into a performing arts venue.

As work began more recently on reconstruction, a worker made an unexpected discovery while deconstructing a wall.

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“The Oakland Police Department (OPD) is investigating an unidentified decayed body that was found by contractors working inside the Henry J Kaiser Center, on March 9, 2022, at 1:00 PM,” the Oakland Police Department shared on Facebook.

“Upon arrival, officers located what appears to be a deceased adult male, in late stages of decay.

“The Oakland Police Homicide Section responded to the scene to begin their investigation. The identity of the victim is unknown at this time and pending further forensic testing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Homicide Section at (510) 238-3821 or the TIP LINE at 238-7950.”

The mummified body was found behind drywall, between two concrete pillars, in a 15-inch gap.

“We found remains best described as mummified,” Lt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said, according to an NBC News report Thursday. “The conditions in the walls  were such that the body was preserved in good conditions.”

“Any theory is 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.”

Lt. Frederick Shavies of the Oakland Police Department indicated that the death was likely an accident “caused by positional asphyxiation due to the compression of the small space.”

He also said the person might have died higher up in a less-constricted area and the body might have dropped while decomposing.

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Shavies also said there were no obvious or suspicious injuries and no limbs were bound. While the age and race have been difficult to determine, it appears that the body has been in the wall for somewhere at least three to five years, he said.

As the investigation continues, authorities hope more details will be uncovered through the autopsy, dental exam, fingerprinting and DNA testing.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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