OAKLAND (KCBS / KPIX 5) — Authorities gathered in Vallejo Thursday night to conduct a search in connection with the disappearance of 50-year-old federal investigator Sandra Coke. Meanwhile, a man who once dated Coke has been detained and questioned in the case.
According to police, the search is taking place at the Solano County Fairgrounds and Lake Chabot, near Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. More that 50 local, state and federal investigators are combing an area around overnight for any clues involving the disappearance of Coke, Oakland police spokeswoman Officer Johnna Watson said.
Police told KCBS that 56-year-old Randy Alana has been questioned in Coke’s disappearance. Alana was arrested earlier this week on a parole violation and is a registered sex offender.
Friends of Coke said she briefly dated Alana more than 20 years ago. They also said he had been in touch with him recently and that she was trying to help him get his life back in order.
Watson said the arrest took place after investigators discovered he was with Coke on Sunday.
“He is a person of interest. We do know they were seen together last Sunday evening,” Watson said. “We are looking at an angle to see if foul play was involved.”
Alana was being held in jail without bail Thursday. He is considered a high-risk sex offender as state records show he has convictions for rape and kidnapping.
On Thursday, family and friends said they are offering a $100,000 reward for information leading them to Coke, who works in the federal public defender’s office.
A website was also set up on Thursday to help find Coke, who was last seen leaving her home shortly after 8:30 p.m. Sunday after reportedly telling her 15-year-old daughter she was meeting with someone who found her missing dog.
Coke said she would be back in 30 minutes. Her daughter called police when her mother did not return home that night.
Authorities said Coke’s 2007 Mini Cooper convertible was found Monday just a few blocks from her home and her two cell phones were found near the Oakland-Emeryville border and in Richmond.
Coke is a capital case investigator for the federal public defender’s office in Sacramento.
“These last few days have been a living nightmare,” Tanya Coke, her sister, said Thursday. “We are all desperate to see her return home safely.”
Oakland Police Lt. Chris Bolton said they are still treating Coke’s disappearance as a missing person’s case. Thursday’s search in Vallejo will also include the FBI, California Highway Patrol, and divers from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department.
Coke’s sister, however, is convinced that foul play is involved.
“We are certain that she has been abducted,” she said. “She would never leave her daughter for more than an hour or two so we know that there must be something terribly wrong.”
Watson said authorities will look into all angles.
“Our primary focus on this investigation is to find Sandra Coke,” Watson said. “We are hopeful that she is safe and we hope to find her safe.”
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