Body Found in Estuary is Wife of Filmmaker

Body Found in Estuary is Wife of Filmmaker

The body of a Berkeley woman who had been missing for six days was found floating in the Oakland Estuary last Thursday, Jan. 28.

The body of Diana Gail Hajisaari, also known as Gail Saari, was located by the Oakland Police Department Air Support and Marine units about 2:45 p.m. that Thursday in a tidal canal behind homes on the 3300 block of Fernside Boulevard. Family members reported Gail missing on Friday Jan. 22.

A man told police he saw her disrobe and get into the water around noon on Jan. 22, the day family members reported her missing, while he was at the Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline Park, which is not far from the Estuary. The witness told police he thought she was going for a swim. 

The man who saw her get into the water did not tell authorities about it until the next day when he saw fliers that had been posted about her disappearance. Extensive searches had been conducted both by boat and aircraft and an Oakland police helicopter crew spotted the body in the water Thursday afternoon.

Gail, 62, was a publications editor at the Independent Institute, a non-profit, scholarly research and educational organization which sponsors comprehensive studies on political economy. She left her office on Swan Way in Oakland about 10 a.m. Jan. 22, leaving behind several personal items such as her purse, keys, phone and inhaler, according to reports.

Before working at the Independent Institute, Gail was the managing editor for CMP Media and Backbeat books where she produced trade books on music, digital video and computer engineering. She had also lived and worked in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, for several years where she was managing editor for Malaysian Nature Society magazine, according to her resume on She received a Bachelor of Arts from University of Tennessee and a Master’s degree in Arts in International Affairs from Ohio University.

Gail is the wife of Malaysian filmmaker U-Wei Saari, according to the Malaysian newspaper, the Rakyat Post. He is also known as Zuhir bin Saari. Saari has 10 film credits, according to, including his 1995 film Kaki bakar, which was the first Malaysian film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Saari is the first Malaysian director to be invited to show at the prestigious Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. 

Saari declined to respond to comment, according to several Malaysian media outlets, but did leave a short statement to, a national news agency in Malaysia that said, “Thank you and call for prayers for her.”