HAMILTON, Ohio (WXXIX/Gray News) – Four bodies found in Mexico are confirmed to be those of an Ohio architect, his fiancee and two family members who went missing in December, officials said.
Officials confirmed Tuesday that one of the bodies found was that of Jose Gutiérrez, 36, an architect for a Cincinnati-based firm.
Officials had previously determined that the other three bodies were Gutiérrez’s fiancée, Daniela Pichardo, as well as his sister and cousin.
The car the couple used in Mexico was found earlier this week riddled with bullet holes. It is not known where the bodies were found.
Gutiérrez, the eldest of seven siblings, earned his master’s degree at the University of Miami and worked for a Cincinnati-based firm as an architect. Born in Mexico, his family described him as a role model who overcame all obstacles to graduate.
He was last seen in the United States at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport when he departed Dec. 22 for Zacatecas, one of Mexico’s 31 states.
He was going to visit Pichardo, which his family says he does often. The couple had planned a wedding date in 2023.
Gutiérrez’s sister said she last heard from him when the foursome went out to eat a few days into their trip. She doesn’t know what happened, but she said news agencies published disturbing information about an incident that night.
The couple have not been seen or heard from since. Gutiérrez’s family expressed initial fears that she had been abducted.
The family first contacted the FBI and US government officials for help. They also filed a police report with Hamilton police.
The United States Department of State has a recommendations for travelers for Mexico which includes Zacatecas.
Locality-specific advisory language reads: “Do not travel due to crime and kidnapping. Violent crime, extortion, and gang activity are prevalent in the state of Zacatecas. Citizens Americans and [lawful permanent residents] were victims of kidnappings.
The investigation continues as authorities try to piece together what happened.
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