The body of a child recovered Sunday from San Francisco Bay near the Berkeley Marina remains unidentified.
Authorities have not yet confirmed whether the child is Jashon Williams, the missing 17-month-old son of 23-year-old Oakland resident Zoelina Williams, who was found beaten and shot to death near the Aquatic Park entrance early Friday morning.
Authorities spent 10 to 12 hours Saturday searching the waters near Aquatic Park for Jashon’s body, but to no avail.
But just before 11 a.m. Sunday, according to Berkeley Police Lt. Andrew Greenwood, several kayakers spotted a body floating in the waters and called 911.
Greenwood said Berkeley police arrived at the scene and asked Oakland police to investigate as a “as a matter of professional courtesy.”
Greenwood said the Alameda County coroner’s bureau took custody of the child’s body.
Members of the Alameda County Sheriff’s office, a volunteer dive team and search-and-rescue dogs, and aircraft from the California Highway Patrol and East Bay Regional Parks District assisted in the search.
Williams may have been with his mother when she was killed, Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason said.
Oakland police arrested Curtis Martin III at Chestnut Street and 24th Avenue in Oakland a little after 1 p.m. Friday for his alleged involvement in the homicide, Berkeley’s fifth this year.
A patrol officer conducting a routine security check in the south end of the park shortly after 4 a.m. found the body of an adult female lying on the shoreline adjacent to the parking lot on Bolivar Drive north of Potter Street.
Greenwood said at 4:50 p.m. Monday that “the investigation into the homicide continues,” but that there were “no new developments in the case to share.”
Martin is scheduled to be arraigned in the Alameda County Superior Court Tuesday afternoon.
Greenwood said that Martin declined to be interviewed by reporters.
If Martin “is held to answer in tomorrow afternoon’s arraignment, and he remains in custody with a no-bail hold, he will be moved to the Santa Rita Jail,” he said.
Detectives learned of Martin’s alleged involvement through their ongoing investigation. According to Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Officer Andrew Frankel, this information was sent out as a “Be On the Look Out” bulletin to neighboring agencies.
Martin, 38, is an Oakland resident who was convicted in 1994 for fatally beating 3-year-old Devin Brewer of Oakland, the son of his then-girlfriend. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison, of which he served only six. Police arrested Martin last year in a domestic violence case, but did not prosecute him. He has spent time in jail on robbery, burglary and weapons charges.
Police searched Martin’s home, as well as the home where Zoelina and Jashon Williams were living in Oakland.
Zoelina Williams’ relatives contacted Oakland police at 12:40 a.m. Saturday to let them know about the missing child, he said.
A Berkeley resident who works at the park and did not want to be identified said that the crime scene is at a place frequented by bikers, joggers and dog walkers during the day, but desolate at night. The park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., similar to other City of Berkeley parks.
“The woman was shot twice, they needed a place to dump the body and they dumped it there,” he said. “It’s not the first time a body has been dumped there. I think the last time it happened was eight years ago. A lot of people dumps things in the park because no one can see it, so you can do whatever you want there.”
Anyone with any information on this crime is urged to call the Berkeley Police Department’s Homicide Detail at 981-5741 (office) or 981-5900 (non-emergency dispatch line). Callers wishing to remain anonymous can call the Bay Area Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Bay City News contributed to this report.