The story behind the "skeletonized" human remains that were found on UC Berkeley’s campus earlier this year keeps getting stranger.
The remains were identified as a homicide victim named Steven Lawrence McCreary, who was last seen in 2009 when he was 37, campus police said on Wednesday.
According to a statement released by the UC Berkeley police, the bones were DNA-tested to make the victim identification, as the Berkeley Scanner reported. Additionally, the Alameda County Coroner's Office analyzed the condition of the bones, leading investigators to conclude that McCreary's death was a result of foul play. Authorities also noted that forensic and other evidence indicate that McCreary's death occurred many years ago.
The victim reportedly had no affiliation with UC Berkeley and hailed from Texas. He apparently was known to be a nomad, roaming the country via train-hopping and hitchhiking. He was not known to be a permanent residence of the Bay Area.
Campus police had withheld sharing these details until now, as the remains had to be properly identified, next of kin notified, and the integrity of the ongoing investigation protected.
But questions still remain. UC Berkeley officials initially disclosed the discovery of the skeletal remains at the Clark Kerr Campus, primarily as housing for incoming freshmen, in January, as we reported at the time. However, it emerged later that the bones had been found by a worker at Clark Kerr in June 2021, nearly 19 months before any official report was filed. Contractors had alerted a UC Berkeley facilities director about the discovery, but he reportedly failed to pass on the information to authorities.
As Hoodline reported, UC Berkeley confirmed that the facilities director in question no longer worked for the university since May 2023 and was not considered a person of interest in McCreary's case.
One of the contractors — who remains anonymous — told the Berkeley Scanner how the skeleton was found. He said that his crew was working in an abandoned building at Clark Kerr and found a boarded-up underground crawl space; in it was a decrepit mattress and under that was what looked like a “large femur bone.”
According to the Scanner, there was also graffiti on the walls nearby that seemed to contain a “possible motive,” but campus police said that it was unrelated to the crime.
Regardless, McCreary’s relatives told the Berkeley Scanner that the family felt a sense of “closure.” The relative said that his family had looked for McCreary for years, as despite his nomadic lifestyle he would often come back to Texas to visit. “It’s one thing thinking that he’s gone,” she reportedly said. “But now it’s that he is gone."
Feature image of Steven Lawrence McCreary via UC Berkeley police.