A man from Sandra Coke's past, 56-year-old Randy Alana, has been arrested on a parole violation and is being interrogated by detectives in the search for the missing woman, reports The San Francisco Chronicle. Authorities have classified him as a "person of interest" in the federal investigator's disappearance.
It's been confirmed that Alana dated Coke more than 20-years-ago and had seen each other since his release from prison, it's reported by CBS San Francisco that she was helping him put his life back together.
The search for Coke was called off on the afternoon of August 9 when a body was found in Vacaville, California. Authorities have not confirmed if the body is that of Sandra Coke. The death-row investigator was last seen on August 4.
1. He Was Seen With Sandra Coke on the Night She Disappeared
Witnesses claim to have seen Alana with Coke on August 4. The two had struck up some sort of relationship since he release from prison having dated 20 years ago. Alana was picked up by police on August 6 and is being held in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, California. He was charged with an unspecified parole violation though there is speculation that Alana had not met the conditions required of a paroled sex-offender.
Cokes family and friends released a statement upon Alana's arrest saying:
The suspect is someone who briefly dated Sandra Coke more than 20 years ago. All we ask is if he has information about the whereabouts of Sandra, that he immediately come forward with it.
When Coke's sister, Tanya Coke-Kendall, was asked by reporters about Alana's arrest, she simply said:
We are all just desperate to see her returned home safely.
Former Prosecutor Russ Giuntini, who tried Alana numerous times, said that although he did not know Sandra Coke he understood that:
He's a charming guy with women, and he's particularly cruel to women.
Oakland police spokeswoman Officer Johnna Watson said of the arrest of Alana:
He is a person of interest. We do know they were seen together last Sunday evening. We are looking at an angle to see if foul play was involved.
2. Alana is a 'Career Criminal'
Alana has a long rap sheet that includes crimes such as rape, rape in concert with force or violence. As part of his parole Alana had been required to register regularly as a sex offender.
In 1983 Alana was acquitted of beating a woman to death and in 1984 pleaded no contest to killing a fellow prisoner in Santa Rita. His latest and longest stint in prison was for robbery.
The 1983 slaying of Marilyn Pigott was particularly brutal, 23-year-old Piggot was found beaten to death with a hammer in her North Oakland apartment. Her body was found nearly exactly 30 years ago in August 1983, reports San Jose Mercury News. Alana and Piggot had attended elementary school together.
While in prison awaiting trial for the murder of Pigott, Alana, and another man, James Hodari Benson, were accused of killing another inmate Al Ingram, 40 who was stabbed 93 times.
The jury in Alana's murder trial were deadlocked, he was retried and received a six-year-sentence in March 1988. Benson was convicted of first-degree-murder in a year earlier in 1987.
Attorney Russ Giuntini, who claims he once had a bounty put on his head by Alana, said of the convicted sex offender:
His whole history has been a life of crime. That's who he is.
3. When Cops Arrested Him, Alana Had Coke's Credit Card
Police source confirms body has been found in Vacaville where searchers been looking for missing woman Sandra Coke pic.twitter.com/KLI4MvDEOl
— Jodi Hernandez (@JodiHernandez01) August 9, 2013
Alana was wearing muddy boots when he was arrested by police. In his possession were Coke's car keys and credit card, reported NBC Bay Area. Surveillance camera footage from August 9 show Alana gassing up Coke's 2007 Mini-Cooper and using her credit card.
Coke's car had been found abandoned in West Oakland, California on August 5.
4. For Some Reason Alana Was Set Free Again in June
Alana has been out on parole since June 2012. In May 2013 he was arrested at the Sage Motel (above) in Alameda County for a violation of his parole. Alana attempted escape but was eventually arrested by sheriff's deputies. He stood trial for resisting arrest in June 2013 but the case was dropped for an unknown reason.
Sandra Coke missing/Oakland, notices are now going up. Friends, family and co-workers have gathered with detectives http://t.co/QfVASFiJep
— Randee Deason (@2hip4tv) August 7, 2013
5. Police Found Coke's Body After a Short Search of a Remote Area
The body that was recovered in Vacaville, California has been confirmed as female but authorities have not elaborated further. The body was found on Cherry Glen Road (above), close to interstate 80. Reports say the body was found at the base of a tree. Police had only been searching the area for a short time before discovering the dead woman.