A mummified body was recently found inside the walls of a historic convention center in Oakland, California. The discovery has stunned the city and sparked debate as to how the person died. Alameda County sheriff’s office Lieutenant Ray Kelly told NBC News “Any theory is possible. 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.”
Kelly explained, “We found remains best described as mummified. The conditions in the walls were such that the body was preserved in good conditions.” According to the sheriff’s office, the corpse was discovered in a depression 15 inches wide and 12 inches high on the west side of the former Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center.
The center was named after industrialist Kaiser Permanente and originally opened its doors in 1914, closing over 90 years later. In 2015, the Oakland City Council authorized a redevelopment proposal that would transform the property into a mixed-use commercial and performing arts complex. Since 2020, construction staff has been working on the makeover. While working on the facility, a construction crew discovered the body. One crew member reportedly found it behind a wall and between two concrete pillars as he was plowing through some drywall.
While the first inspection of the corpse revealed no clues, authorities are now working to get fingerprints to identify the person and figure out how it ended up there. They assume the person was a man who died a long time ago, leaving his remains to settle into a limited space. Lt. Frederick Shavies of the Oakland Police Department said “there were no obvious signs of trauma observed” and that “there were no cracks or fractures in any of the bones.”