Corpse identified after more than 20 years

More than 20 years after a strangled and decomposed body was found on a desolate hillside just outside Oakland's borders, it has been identified as that of Theodore Joseph Reilly, an ex-con from Oakland.

East Bay Regional Park District police Sgt. Tyrone Davis said today that he's asking for the public's help both to find out more about Reilly's background and to figure out who killed him.

Reilly was 50 when his body was found June 6, 1987, down a hillside off Pinehurst Road in unincorporated Contra Costa County near the Upper San Leandro Reservoir.

Davis said a woman driving by who had stopped to gaze at the view spotted the body.

He said an autopsy determined that Reilly had been strangled and it appeared that his body had been dumped two weeks before it was spotted.

Davis said no one reported Reilly missing at the time his body was found and because he couldn't be identified there were fewleads to pursue.

Park district police sent Reilly's fingerprints and dental records to the state Department of Justice Crime Lab shortly after his body was found but the lab didn't identify Reilly until two weeks ago.

Davis said he doesn't know why it took so long to identify Reilly.

Davis said Reilly has a criminal history in both Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Records indicate he served time in federal prison in the early 1980s for a heroin-related conviction.

Davis said, “We're trying to locate his next of kin” to learn more about Reilly's background and “to find out how he ended up there” on the hillside.

He said we want to find out who he hung out with and re-create the last few days of his life.”

Davis said the initial investigation into Reilly's murder could be difficult but he said “once we put the pieces together we should be all right” and have a good chance of solving the case.

Davis said anyone with information about Reilly can call him or Detective Ken Wong at (510) 881-1833.

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