DNA identifies fourth body found in Mexico as missing Hamilton man

A DNA comparison has revealed a fourth body found in Mexico belongs to José Gutiérrez, a 36-year-old Hamilton man who went missing with his fiancée and her sister and cousin in December.

On Jan. 20, Mexican authorities identified three out of four bodies discovered as Gutiérrez’s fiancee, Daniela Pichardo, her sister Viviana and their cousin Paola Vargas.

Gutiérrez’s family said Mexican authorities called them on Tuesday to deliver the news. The family said they plan to make arrangements to have a service in the U.S., but were not yet ready to speak further.

Gutiérrez flew to Mexico from Cincinnati on Dec. 22 to visit Pichardo. Gutiérrez’s sister, Brandie Gutiérrez, said her brother was last seen at Solana Resto Bar in Jerez de Garcia Salinas in the state of Zacatecas on Christmas day. They left to go back to Pichardo’s home, but never arrived.

Mexican news outlets reported that a vehicle located in Mexico was the one Gutiérrez and the others were last seen driving. A report from TV Azteca in Jalisco said officials located her car. Pictures show a flat tire, bullet holes and deployed airbags.

When José's future mother-in-law had not heard from the four into the night of Dec. 25, she became worried and contacted them — and in turn received a text message with an address, Brandie said. However, when the family drove to that address, they were stopped by police and told the area they were in was too dangerous, said Brandie. The family was told to return the next day, but were not given specific reasons as to why the area was dangerous.

The U.S. Department of State has issued a travel advisory for the Mexican state of Zacatecas, urging people not to travel in the state “due to crime and kidnapping.”

“Violent crime, extortion and gang activity are widespread in Zacatecas state,” reads the agency’s website. “U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.”

Gutiérrez received his master’s degree in architecture from Miami University and has been working at Champlin Architecture in downtown Cincinnati, Brandie said.

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