Texas man whose remains found at UC Berkeley was last seen alive in 2009, family says

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Thursday, August 17, 2023
Human skeleton found at UC Berkeley in January ID'd: Police
UC Berkeley police say the human skeleton found in an unoccupied building near campus this year has been identified and was a victim of a homicide.

BERKELEY, California (KTRK) -- The remains found in an unoccupied building near the UC Berkeley campus earlier this year have been identified as those of a Katy-area man who is suspected to be a victim of a homicide, according to the campus police department.

Police say they are now seeking the public's help in providing information.

According to a statement released by the UC Berkeley Police Department, DNA evidence indicates the remains are those of Steven Lawrence McCreary, who was born on Oct. 8, 1972. Based on the condition of the bones analyzed by the Alameda County Coroner's Office, McCreary's death is a homicide.

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Forensic and other evidence indicates the death occurred many years ago. McCreary was known to be alive at least as recently as 2009 and would have been approximately 37 years old at that time.

Officials say that McCreary was not affiliated with UC Berkeley and was from Texas. Records showed his parents live in Katy. He was known to travel around the country, sometimes on trains or by hitchhiking. They say he spent some time in the San Francisco Bay Area but did not have a known residence here.

His parents, who are still processing the news, did not want to go on camera but did say they last saw McCreary during Christmas in 2008 and early 2009 after buying him a ticket to San Francisco.

The family moved to the Katy area from Tennessee in 1982 when McCreary's father took a job with the Houston Police Department.

His father said for years, they searched for him.

They added that before 2009, he usually hopped from city to city and would disappear but would call on his birthday and the holidays. They said he loved to travel and camp.

McCreary's father said in his heart he always had a feeling something happened to him, but never imagined he would be murdered.

UCPD first learned of the skeletal remains in January 2023 and immediately responded to the scene at that time.

In their statement, they said, "Officers refrained from publicly disclosing details until now because the remains had to be identified, next of kin had to be notified, and the integrity of the investigation had to be protected. This is an ongoing investigation."

UCPD is asking for the public's assistance to further its investigation into what happened to McCreary. Anyone who ever interacted with him for any reason is asked to contact UCPD Detective Sergeant Jon Caires at (510) 642-0482, jcaires@berkeley.edu or Detective Mitch Levi at (510) 642-3658, mlevi@berkeley.edu.