OAKLAND -- The family of Sandra Coke was anxiously waiting Monday for authorities to identify a woman's body found near a Vacaville park last week during a search for the missing federal investigator from Oakland.
"Our hearts are heavy to think she may not be coming home to us, but we have been sustained through this ordeal by the unbelievable outpouring of love, concern and prayers from all of you," Coke's family said in an online statement they posted during the weekend.
The Alameda County Coroner performed an autopsy Monday on the body, but the identity will not be released until Tuesday at the earliest, authorities said. The body was found Friday near Lagoon Valley Park during a massive search in Solano
The discovery brought the search to a halt but police have not said whether the body is that of Coke.
Coke, 50, was last seen about 8:30 p.m. Aug. 4 by her 15-year-old daughter after leaving their home in the 600 block of Aileen Street in North Oakland, reportedly to meet with someone with information about the family's missing dog.
Coke's car was subsequently located in a West Oakland parking lot and one of her cellphones was found in Richmond last week.
She was reportedly seen the day she went missing with Randy Alana, whom she dated 20 years ago. Alana, 56, is a violent sex offender with a long criminal history. He has prior convictions for rape and other crimes and is registered as a high-risk sex offender.
Alana has been in custody on a parole violation since Aug. 6 and investigators say he is a "person of interest" in Coke's disappearance, but no charges have been made against him in connection with the case.
A spokesman for the Alameda County District Attorneys office said Monday there were not updates on the case and he referred all calls to Oakland police.
As a federal investigator dealing with death penalty appeals, Coke interviews death row inmates, their friends and families, said Joe Schlesinger, chief of the death penalty appeals unit of the Office of the Federal Public Defender in the Eastern District of California.
"She is very tenacious, very good at relating to people who have had all kinds of difficulties in life," said Schlesinger, who has known Coke for more than 20 years. "We're grieving, we're in shock, we are doing everything we can to support each other and support Sandra's family. We are in a field that deals with death everyday, when it touches one of our own it's very difficult."
Coke's family members could not be reached on Monday for comment.
A $100,000 reward was offered by family members last week for information about Coke's whereabouts.
Contact Harry Harris at 510-208-6443. Contact David DeBolt at 510-262-2728.