Workers renovating a convention center in Oakland, California, made a disturbing find Wednesday—a mummified body inside an interior wall. Kim Armstead, a spokesperson for Oakland police, said the body, believed to be that of a man, was "in the late stages of decay" and had been preserved by time and conditions, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. "Under ideal conditions a body will harden and become like leather, similar to a mummy," Armstead explained. Police say the body appeared to have been there for "many years" and the case will be investigated as a homicide.
"The identity of the victim is unknown at this time and pending further forensic testing," Armstead said, per the East Bay Times. The Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center opened in 1914 as the Oakland Civic Auditorium. The city-owned building fell into disrepair after it was closed in 2005 due to high operating costs but is now being restored for use as a commercial space and performing arts venue, reports CBS San Francisco. The building's history includes use as a temporary hospital during the 1918 flu pandemic, and it has seen at least one high-profile death: Western swing musician Spade Cooley, who was serving a life sentence for killing his wife, received a furlough to play a benefit there in 1969. He died of a heart attack backstage during intermission. (Read more Oakland stories.)