Police identify man found shot in Arizona desert in 1976

A police sketch showing the likeness of Luis Alonso Paredes
Image caption,A police sketch showing the likeness of Luis Alonso Paredes

Arizona police have reopened a long-standing cold case after identifying a body found shot in the desert in 1976.

Hikers found the remains buried in a shallow grave in north-western Arizona almost half a century ago.

An autopsy at the time revealed that the man was in his mid-30s and had been shot in the head at close range, but officers could not identify him.

But Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said on Tuesday it had identified him as El Salvador national Luis Alonso Paredes.

In 1976, authorities collected fingerprints during an autopsy of his remains, but could find no match on available databases. A composite image of his likeness was drawn up by the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, but the trail soon went cold and remained dormant for 47 years.

But in November 2023, investigators revived the case and compared the fingerprint records to a national database not available in 1976, which soon identified the man as Paredes.

Police said he had been working in the Las Vegas area at the time of his disappearance and noted that he may have been employed by the US Navy and Coast Guard about a decade before he vanished.

Officers have so far been unable to locate any of his living relatives.

While the mystery of Paredes’ identity may have been solved, it throws open the decades-old mystery of his killing.

The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office https://kesulitanitu.com have asked the public to contact them with any information about the case or any leads which could help find his surviving relatives.

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