UC Berkeley skeleton: Cause of death was blunt force injury

Previously, there was a press hold on the case and no information was available. That changed last week.

UC Berkeley skeleton: Cause of death was blunt force injury
Contractors found skeletal remains, mostly covered by this blanket, in this crawl space at UC Berkeley in June 2021. Scanner Insider

The man whose skeletal remains were found beneath an unused UC Berkeley building in 2021 died of "blunt force injury of the head," new records obtained by Aipsasiamedia show.

UC Berkeley announced the discovery of the bones a year ago this month.

As it turned out, contractors had found the bones in 2021, but their supervisor — a director of campus facilities — never reported the discovery to police. The supervisor was ruled out as a suspect but no longer works for Cal, university officials said last year.

Since the bones came to light, after the contractors alerted police themselves, many people have wondered about the story behind the skeletal remains. Limited information has been available.

Police eventually shared the man's name, Steven Lawrence McCreary, and confirmed that his death had been a homicide.

McCreary's family last spoke with him in 2009, they told The Scanner last year. He was 37 years old when he disappeared.

The University of California Police Department has never said how Steven McCreary died.

Last week, Aipsasiamedia obtained the four-page autopsy report from the Alameda County coroner's office in an effort to learn more.

Previously, there had been a press hold on the case and no information had been available.

What we know about the human skeleton found at UC Berkeley
The building where the skeleton was found was “unused” and had “not been occupied for many years.”

According to the report, the autopsy examination found blunt force injury to McCreary's head "with multiple fractures," as well as "sharp force injuries" — which could indicate incision or stab wounds — to his sternum and long bones.

According to the autopsy report, dated May 2023, part of McCreary's skull was "absent with a large defect."

Aside from a small amount of mummified tissue, all that remained of McCreary when he was discovered were his teeth and bones, the pathologist wrote.

Authorities also found some items of clothing near McCreary, including a Wolf Brigade T-shirt, a military jacket and several pairs of pants.

The report also noted the presence of two blankets, including a quilt, along with "small, irregular, torn fragments of what appear to be green or dark colored plastic or garbage bag."

Read more about the UC Berkeley skeleton on The Scanner.

Dr. Katherine Raven, the forensic pathologist, also noted that a "detailed Forensic Anthropology Report" had been completed. That information was not included in the materials released last week.

The Scanner is seeking access to that report via a Public Records Act request.

According to a one-page investigator's report, McCreary's remains were released to a funeral home last year for cremation.

The University of California Police Department identified McCreary through his DNA.

Family honors Steven McCreary, whose bones were found at UC Berkeley
“You’re thankful that you don’t look to see if that’s him every time you pass someone on the road,” said cousin Larramie Pace.

McCreary's bones were found in an unlocked crawl space on the Clark Kerr Campus at 2601 Warring St. in Building 21, according to the investigator's report.

As of last week, UCPD said there was no new information to share about the case.

Campus officials have yet to provide any documents in response to a Public Records Act request filed by The Scanner in July 2023.

The Scanner continues to seek all available records.

UC Berkeley skeleton ID’d as Steven McCreary, homicide victim
McCreary’s family last spoke with him in 2009. He would have been 37 years old at that time, UCPD said.
What happened to the human skeleton found at UC Berkeley?
The skeleton was found in a crawl space that had been boarded up and marked with an ominous message, a worker told The Scanner.
Police have asked anyone with information about the death of Steven McCreary to share it with UCPD Detective Sgt. Jon Caires (at 510-642-0482 or jcaires@berkeley.edu) or Detective Mitch Levi (at 510-642-3658 or mlevi@berkeley.edu).