Child's Body Found in Water Near Berkeley Marina

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A child's body was found and recovered from the San Francisco Bay near the Berkeley Marina Sunday, not far from where police searched Saturday for a toddler whose mother had been killed.

Seventeen-month-old Jashon Williams was last known to be with his mother Zoelina Williams, 23, of Oakland, who was found dead in Aquatic Park around 4 a.m. Friday, according to police.

Police searched the park Saturday but did not find any clues relating to the toddler's whereabouts.

The body was found by a group of two or three kayakers around 11 a.m. Sunday, according to Berkeley Police Lt. Andrew Greenwood. The kayakers called 911 and reported seeing a child's body floating in the water, he said.

The Berkeley Fire Department recovered the body, which was then given to the Alameda County Coroner's office for identification.

"It is the body of a small child," Greenwood said. "We don't know who it is."

The coroner will be responsible for identifying the body and determining the cause of death.

On Sunday, Berkeley police searched the area, several boats patrolled the shoreline and a helicopter searched from above, but no evidence related to the case was found.

The search area was near Aquatic Park, which police searched Saturday. Water flows between the two areas, Greenwood said.

"Water flows in and out, that's a live ecosystem," he said. "Material can pass back and forth there."

Greenwood said relatives of Zoelina Williams notified police that Jashon Williams was missing.

Oakland police arrested Oakland resident Curtis Martin III just after 1 p.m. Friday in Oakland for his alleged involvement in Zoelina Williams' death. Martin remains in jail and is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday morning, Greenwood said.

Greenwood said Berkeley Police officers began searching the park for the child early Saturday morning. Later, Berkeley police received assistance from Alameda County Search and Rescue officers and dogs. The Alameda County Sheriff's volunteer dive unit also searched the waters of the park's lagoon and estuary from about 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., finding nothing.

A Search and Rescue airplane and an East Bay Regional Parks District helicopter searched the water from the sky, while a boat patrolled the water from below.

The search ended about 3 p.m. after failing to undercover any pertinent information.

"Our goal was to make sure we didn't miss anything and to essentially make sure we left no stone unturned," Greenwood said.

Martin, 38, was arrested at Chestnut Street and 24th Avenue in Oakland after Oakland Police received information from Berkeley Police Homicide detectives on a report sent to neighboring law enforcement agencies.

According to Berkeley Police Department Officer Andrew Frankel, a Berkeley Police patrol officer was conducting a security check of the park when he found the crime scene just after 4 a.m. on Friday.

Zoelina Williams' body was found on the shoreline near the end of Bolivar Drive at the east end of the park, Frankel said.


Amy Brooks is the city news editor. Contact her at [email protected]

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