Coke was an investigator who worked on behalf of people charged with crimes. She was last seen with Randy Alana, an ex-convict she once dated. Police call Alana a person of interest in Coke's disappearance. He's a registered sex offender being held on a parole violation.
Oakland police are being careful not to call him a suspect and are saying very little about the investigation.
"The coroner's office has identified the woman as Sandra Coke. At this time the Oakland Police Department will not be releasing any additional information other than the identification," said Johnna Watson of the Oakland Police Department.
Coke left her Oakland home Sunday August 4. She told her 15-year-old daughter she was going to the drug store and to talk with someone who had information about their missing dog, and that she'd be right home.
When she didn't return that night, family and neighbors put up missing posters. Her daughter reportedly used a find my phone application on the Internet to look for her mother's cellphone.
And it was cellphone signals that led search teams to an area near Vacaville. They found her body Friday near an Interstate 80 on-ramp.
In Coke's neighborhood, Patricia Williams carried flowers to Coke's front door. She was too choked up to say more than a few words.
"Just a wonderful neighbor, nice and friendly and you know, she just seemed to care a lot for her daughter," she said.
Other neighbors felt very much the same.
"Beautiful person, really beautiful person. I couldn't ask for a better neighbor," said neighbor Ernestine Pittman.
Alana has a long criminal history including arrests for rape, kidnapping and a murder conviction.
Coke family statement
Sandra Coke's family released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
"The Coke family is devastated by the loss of our beloved Sandra. She was a loving mother, daughter, sister and auntie, and a shining light in our family; her good cheer, easy laugh and generous hugs will be missed. Those of us who were privileged to know Sandra will remember her as an unusually kind, generous and big-hearted person. She passionately devoted her professional life to helping the poor and those who endured difficult childhoods. All of us will miss Sandra's beautiful, giving spirit.
We want to express our deepest thanks to the hundreds of caring people in local, state and federal law enforcement, current and former colleagues, friends, and members of the public and the media -- who labored day and night to assist with the search for Sandra. Your care and expressions of concern have been humbling.
We are so grateful to each of you for your kindness and support during this most difficult time.
We also want to thank the wonderful friends and colleagues who have created the Sandra Coke Fund to provide for her daughter's care and education.
Our family and Sandra's daughter will need time and privacy to mourn our loss. We thank you for understanding our need for privacy at this time.
Thank you again for all of your support in bringing home our beloved Sandra."