In a grisly discovery on Halloween, volunteers cleaning Lake Merritt in Oakland, California, stumbled upon a dead body that was stuffed inside a suitcase found floating on the water.
The incident, which occurred during a routine cleanup, has left the community shocked and law enforcement authorities launching a homicide investigation.
According to reports, Lake Merritt Institute volunteers were conducting their cleanup operation around 11 a.m. when they noticed a suitcase floating at the edge of the picturesque Lake Merritt, often referred to as “the jewel of Oakland” and the oldest designated wildlife refuge in the United States.
Curious, the group used small nets to retrieve the suitcase, only to be horrified by the findings.
“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,’” recalled volunteer Kevin Shomo. “So we unzipped it … and that’s what we found,” he added, describing the gruesome discovery of a man crammed into the suitcase in a fetal position.
The unidentified victim, a man in his 30s, appeared to have been brutally murdered as seen from visible injuries on the body.
Oakland police Captain Alan Yu confirmed the discovery but noted that it was unclear when the suitcase was dumped into the lake.
The investigation is now focused on determining where the body might have originated from, as it could have come from any part of the lake.
Additionally, police are treating the case as a homicide, with the victim’s identity being withheld pending family notification. It remains uncertain whether the murdered man matches any missing persons’ reports.
Local residents, who consider Lake Merritt a local oasis and a popular path for joggers, were deeply disturbed by the grisly discovery.
“Oakland definitely has its crime, but to see something this gruesome is quite shocking,” resident Shana O’Shae told Fox News.
“It’s really scary for me, for a body to be around the neighborhood here, it’s really scary,” witness Angela Massella added.
“A body in the lake? What the hell,” another resident said in shock.
“This type of crime does seem uncharacteristic of the type of crime that has been happening in Oakland,” remarked Zoe Siegel, a resident. “I rode a crew on Lake Merritt in high school, and back then we also ran over a dead body.”
Authorities have appealed to anyone with information about the body or any surveillance footage showing suspicious activity related to the incident to contact the police department.
The investigation is ongoing as Oakland residents await more information about this disturbing case.