Dead body that appeared to be in suitcase discovered in Lake Merritt

Dead body that appeared to be in suitcase discovered in Lake Merritt

OAKLAND — Volunteers cleaning Lake Merritt made a grim discovery Tuesday when they found a floating suitcase with a dead body inside it, authorities and witnesses said.

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Police and fire crews were at the lake past 12:30 p.m. and were expected to be there for many hours. The suitcase remained in the lake, touching a side wall in about a foot of water.

Officers and the Oakland Fire Department’s maritime response team went to the 1900 block of Lakeshore Avenue about 11 a.m. According to police, the body had several injuries to it.

It was not known immediately whether the body was that of a male or female.

Alfredo Sanchez, a volunteer coordinator for the Lake Merritt Institute, said three of the institution’s volunteers found the suitcase just before 11 a.m. One of the volunteers unzipped the suitcase and got a sense something wasn’t right, Sanchez said.

A bit more unzipping revealed a body inside, he said.

“This is definitely a first,” Sanchez said.

Oakland police homicide detectives were at the scene and leading the investigation, police said. This marks the 108th investigation Oakland police have conducted this year.

Dozens of people gathered at the shore of Lake Merritt to watch. The suitcase was floating in the water in the area of Hanover Avenue.

This is a developing report. Please check back for updates.