Sunken car in Lake Merritt linked to homicide

Oakland police and Alameda County sheriff’s deputies used a drone to find a car in Lake Merritt Monday afternoon that they believed to be connected to a homicide there on March 15, authorities said.

The car was dragged from the lake in the 1900 block of Lakeshore Avenue near Hanover Avenue just before 2 p.m. today, according to authorities.

Oakland police officers and fire crews responded to an area of the lake near that location at about 4:15 a.m. on March 15 after a witness reported that two people appeared to be drowning.

Four police officers went in to try to rescue the victims. A man, later identified as 39-year-old Michael Grace, was found and taken to a hospital where he died, according to police.

Police said that at about 7:30 a.m. a female victim, identified as 24-year-old Tayana Johnson, was also found and pronounced dead.

Investigators say Grace and Johnson were dating and had gotten into some kind of physical altercation.

Investigators said they’re investigating Johnson’s death as a homicide but Grace’s death appears to be accidental.