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County Sheriff’s Office Identifies Human Remains Found 47 Years Ago in Arizona Desert

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A picture of human remains
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The police have finally identified the remains of a man who was shot in the head and buried. A group of hikers stumbled on the body on November 23, 1976, in the Arizona desert near Lake Mohave. The hikers who were enjoying the hills northeast of Bullhead City in northwestern Arizona became distraught after coming across the human remains.

Afterward, the hikers reported their discovery to the authorities. The autopsy at the time revealed that the victim was in his early to mid-30s. Also, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office announced that someone shot him in the head at close range. 

However, despite authorities collecting fingerprints during the autopsy, the case soon went cold, and the victim remained nameless. The hikers never could have guessed it would take almost five decades to put a name to the mystery. But now, following a cold case investigation, the police say there is a name to the remains of the man.

According to the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, the dead man was Luis Alonso Paredes. The investigation revealed he was originally from El Salvador. However, he may have been living or working in the Las Vegas area at the time of his death.

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The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office’s Special Investigations Unit began revisiting the case in October 2023. The office said in a news release that it revived the investigation by comparing the fingerprints to all fingerprint records. Fortunately, the fingerprints matched a man, leading to the identification.

However, authorities say they haven’t located any relatives of Paredes and are seeking help from the public. Consequently, the sheriff’s office asked the public to contact them with any information about the case or Paredes’ relatives.

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The Sheriff’s Office said Paredes may have served with the US Coast Guard and the US Navy in the San Francisco Bay area before his death. Anyone with information about Paredes or his family should contact the Sheriff’s Office detective division at +1 928-753-0753, extension 4288. They should also reference case DR# 76-5053.

Similarly, authorities have identified a victim of the notorious Green River Killer as a 15-year-old runaway girl. This news comes nearly four decades after they found her body. The King County Sheriff’s office revealed that they discovered two sets of human remains in Auburn, Washington, in 1985.

They found the remains, which they named Bones 16 and Bones 17, on a steep riverbank. Although they identified Bones 16 as Sandra Majors in 2012, the identity of Bones 17 remained a mystery. However, in December 2023, authorities identified Bones 17 as Lori Anne Ratzpotnik, who ran away from home in 1982.

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Unlike Paredes’ case, the authorities identified the girl’s remains through DNA testing by Parabon Nanolabs, a company in Virginia. They made a new DNA profile, and Ratzpotnik’s mom helped by giving a saliva sample. Hence, the University of North Texas used this to confirm the remains were Lori Anne Ratzpotnik’s.

While the authorities have convicted Ratzpotnik’s murderer, Paredes’ killer remains at large. Also, the identity and motive of his killer remain a mystery to the detectives.

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