Human skull found in backyard and delivered to police in California

OAKLAND, Calif. -- What first seemed like a Halloween prank is now a suspicious death investigation after someone delivered a human skull to the Oakland Police Department Friday morning.

People who live in the West Oakland neighborhood are in shock over the discovery of the skull.

"I'm very sad. I'm very sad about that," said next door neighbor Fentahun Biwota when told about the skull.

Sky 7 showed the backyard at West and 29th streets where two people visiting the home found it in plain sight.

"It was decomposed and had a little bit of flesh on it," said Oakland Police Department Sgt. Michael Cardoza.

What the people did next surprised even seasoned officers.

"They thought it was real enough that it had to be brought to our attention immediately," Cardoza said.

The people who discovered the decomposing head brought it downtown to the police station. At first officers thought maybe it was a prank, being so close to Halloween, but when they stepped outside and looked in the car they knew the head was real.

"I can say in my years of service I've never had a human skull delivered to the police station," Cardoza said.

The Alameda County Coroner's Bureau is now working to determine the identity and cause of death.

"I'm not saying there's any foul play in this at all except for how it got here, that's something we're working on," Cardoza explained.

The mystery is made more difficult because the skull was moved.

"If I found it, I have to call the police before I touch it," neighbor Biwota said, a sentiment that was echoed by other neighbors.

Police are searching through missing person's cases, working to locate the rest of the body, and asking anyone with information to come forward.

Oakland police said anyone with information about the matter should call their homicide section at (510) 238-3821 or their tip line at (510) 238-7950.
Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.