By Web Staff
BALDWIN COUNTY Alabama (WALA) — Twenty-two years after a body was found floating in Styx River near the Seminole community of Baldwin County, authorities were finally able to identify the deceased man.
He was Daniel Muniz Jr. of Texas, the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office announced today.
It was on March 26, 2000, when the body was discovered. It was transported to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for an autopsy and identification.
Unfortunately, the body could not be identified and remained that way for more than two decades.
In 2019 the case was reopened to identify who the person was. The body had several distinctive tattoos, so a media release was distributed to find someone who might be familiar with the victim. Information on the victim and photos of the tattoos were also sent to several missing person websites.
The case information was uploaded to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. NamUs is a national information clearinghouse and resource center for missing, unidentified and unclaimed person cases across the United States.
Officials in Baldwin County said the case remained cold until June 2021 when the stepdaughter of the victim came across photos of the tattoos while searching for her stepfather, who had not been heard from for more than 20 years.
The stepdaughter contacted local media in Mobile and eventually the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office.
The BCSO said the lead was very promising, so forensic testing started to positively identify the victim.
Last week, a positive identification was made by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.
According to the sheriff’s office, Daniel Muniz Jr. had been estranged from his family for many years at the time of his death. He worked assisting migrant workers find work and that was why he was in the Baldwin County area, the BCSO said.
Based on the autopsy performed in 2000, the cause of death was probable drowning.
The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office had assistance from many different agencies to bring this case to a close. These agencies include: The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification, the FBI DNA Casework Unit, the Rockport Police Department-Texas. The BCSO announcement also mentioned assistance from the media as well as the family “for continuing to look for their loved one.”
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