California coroner identifies 'mummified body' found in abandoned convention center as missing homeless man

The coroner matched the serial number on a tubular plate in the man's ankle to hospital records

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A "mummified body" that was found last month in between the inner and outer walls of the abandoned Oakland Convention Center was identified this week as 42-year-old Joseph Edward Mejica, a homeless man who had been missing since August 2020. 

The Alameda County coroner identified the remains by matching a serial number on a tubular plate in Mejica's leg to records at Highland Hospital, where he had surgery nearly two decades ago. 

Mejica's remains were found on March 9 at the Oakland Convention Center, which has been closed since 2005. 

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"It appeared [Mejica] may have fell from a higher location and became wedged in the small opening between the two walls," the coroner wrote. "Advanced decomposition was present."

Mejica's mother had called the coroner before the body was identified because she was afraid it might be her son, and said that "Mejica would often try to steal copper wiring from construction sites for money," according to the coroner's report. 

"We don't suspect any foul play or that he was put there. It's likely we'll never really know how he died," Alameda County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Sgt. Ray Kelly told Fox News Digital on Tuesday. "No one put him there as far as we can tell."

The Oakland Convention Center was shut down in 2005. 

The Oakland Convention Center was shut down in 2005.  (Google Maps)

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Mejica originally disappeared on the evening of August 22, 2020, in Oakland. 

Police said that he was "known to frequent unsheltered encampments," and his family was offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to his location.