Body of Berkeley resident found in water near Richmond

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Update 7/13/15: This story has been updated to reflect new information from the East Bay Regional Park District and the Contra Costa County Coroner’s Office. 

The body of Berkeley resident Katherine Gravett was found Thursday floating in the water near Point Isabel in Richmond.

The death is now being considered suspicious, according to East Bay Regional Park District spokesperson Carolyn Jones, who said officers from the district are leading the investigation.

“Police are getting lots of leads and pursuing them all,” Jones said. “They’re anxious to reach a resolution.”

A park user found Gravett’s body behind the East Bay Municipal Utility District treatment plant, which is “not in an area of the park that is well used,” Jones said. The call came in about noon July 2.

According to preliminary information from the Contra Costa County Coroner’s Office, Gravett’s body was found with marks on her neck and trauma to her head, Jones said. The body, found with the torso between two rocks and legs in the water, had been in the water for about 24 hours.

The coroner found that she did not have water in her lungs, which suggests that she did not drown. Police believe she was killed before being put in the water, Jones said.

The coroner’s office has yet to determine an official cause of death and is awaiting toxicology results before releasing a report.

Gravett, 30, was originally from Fremont and was described as a transient out of Berkeley, Jones said. In the days prior to her death, she had been at the John George Psychiatric Hospital in San Leandro.

Gravett was arrested in May 2014 in connection with a theft and burglary from vehicles, according to Berkeleyside.

Park police are still investigating and looking for people who might have been in contact with or seen Gravett before she died. They are canvassing homeless encampments around the park as part of the investigation, Jones said.

“I can tell you they’re working hard on this,” Jones said. “It’s a high-priority case.”

Police are urging people with any information about Gravett or the circumstances surrounding her death to call the East Bay Regional Parks Police Investigations Unit at 510-690-6555.

Contact Trevor Greenan and Amy Jiang at [email protected].