UPDATE: Sheriff's Department identifies remains found in Monroe County

Photo from Monroe County Sheriff's Dept.
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MONROE COUNTY, Wis. (RELEASE FROM SHERIFF'S DEPT.)-- On 11/23/2018 at around 3:40pm, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office received a report of skeletal remains which were located in a wooded area in the Township of Clifton near County Highway W. The remains were located by a subject while hunting in the area.

The Sheriff’s Office has since been able to ID the remains as those of Jose Juan Zuniga-Jimenez.

The following is a timeline of our investigation.

November 23, 2018 - Skeletal remains were located by hunter near 19468 CTH W Clifton, WI. The area where the remains were located was on a steep hillside.

November 24, 2018 to November 26, 2018 – Monroe County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the WI State Crime Lab Technicians to locate, document and recover any additional bones and evidence from the scene. The skeletal remains were taken to UW Hospital in Madison for a forensic autopsy. The cause of death at this time is undetermined. Further evidence however was collected from autopsy and was sent to the crime lab for DNA testing.

November 25, 2018 - Investigators were made aware of an abandoned vehicle that had been located in 2016 a short distance from where the remains were found. Investigators were able to find the following information reference to that vehicle.

Vehicle history-

April 20, 2016 - A deputy responded to a vehicle near 32220 CTH A Clifton, WI. Keys were left in the ignitions and grass growing up around the vehicle as if it had been there for a number of weeks or months. Deputies were unable to make contact the vehicles owner and it was deemed abandoned. The vehicle was later towed and salvaged. The vehicle had been parked approximately 2700 feet (about half a mile) over a hill and through a wooded area from where the remains were located.

May 2, 2016 – The vehicle was reported stolen out of Sparta. The vehicle’s owner has been out of the country at the time and was not aware his vehicle was stolen until he returned. The vehicle owner believed that his roommate, who was Jose Juan Zuniga-Jimenez may have used the vehicle and made comments of taking the vehicle to skip an upcoming court date.

History of contact with Jose-

March 31, 2016 -A domestic was reported to Elroy Police Department involving Jose Juan Zuniga Jimenez and Juana Garica. Jose and Juana were married, but separated. Jose fled the scene prior to law enforcement’s arrival.

Additional Follow-up-

January 8, 2019 - Monroe County Sheriff’s Office received Wisconsin Criminal Laboratory findings report that DNA was obtained from the remains and that DNA profile was entered into CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) for a one time search.

January 11, 2019 - Contact was made with Juana. Juana had not seen or heard from Jose Juan since the domestic in March 2016. Juana advised Jose drove off in a vehicle that was similar to the one that was abounded near co Hwy A. DNA was obtained from the two children that Jose and Juana shared and was sent to the WI State crime lab for DNA comparison

On January 22, 2019 - Investigators received WI Crime Lab Finings report indicating the 1-time search of the DNA obtained from the remains were matched to a WI offender identified as Jose Jimenez.

March 1, 2019- Investigators received WI Crime Lab Finings report confirmed the DNA from the remains and the children of Jose and Juana, supported a parent/child relationship and the family was notified.

Our investigative team was assisted throughout the investigation by the Monroe County Joint Investigative Task Force, Department of Justice Crime lab, UW Hospital in Madison, Monroe County Medical Examiner, Wisconsin State Patrol, Monroe County Sheriff’s Reserves, and Monroe County 911 communication center.

Anyone who may have additional information reference to this case is urged to contact the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.