‘Its really hard:’ Family of Cincinnati architect missing in Mexico prays for his return

Jose Gutierrez is a Miami University graduate and a Hamilton resident.
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 10:22 PM EST
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HAMILTON, Ohio (WXIX) - Many in the Hamilton community banded together Friday night in a show of support for a Tri-State man who remains missing in Mexico.

Dozens filled St. Julie Billiart Church for 36-year-old Jose Gutierrez. The prayer service united family, friends and coworkers with prayers that he will be back home with them soon.

“It’s very stressful, because we’re here, as United States citizens on this side, and our brother is in a completely different country, where we have no idea where he’s at,” said Luis Gutierrez, Jose’s brother.

Jose, the oldest of seven siblings, received his masters from Miami University and works for a Cincinnati-based firm as an architect. Born in Mexico, his family descirbes him as a role model who overcame all odds to earn his degree.

“He is a hard, very smart guy,” Brandie Gutierrez, Jose’s sister, said. “He has accomplished everything that he has proposed. And I know he will fight through this.”

Jose was last seen domestically at CVG Airport, from which he departed on Dec. 22 for Zacatecas, one of Mexico’s 31 states.

He was going to visit his fiancée, something his family says he does often. The couple has a 2023 wedding date.

Brandie says she last heard from him and his fiancée when they went out to eat some days into their trip. She doesn’t know what happened, but she says news agencies carried troubling reports of an incident that night.

The couple haven’t been seen or heard from since. Jose’s family fears they could have been abducted.

“He’s very well missed,” Luis said through tears. “We are a numerous family, and without him it’s really hard.”

Jose’s family says they’ve reached out to the FBI and U.S. government officials for additional help. They’ve also filed a police report with Hamilton PD.

An agency of the Mexican government whose mission is to find people reported missing confirms it is looking for Jose. That agency is leading the investigation.

“My mind is just racing,” Luis said. “I find myself crying every now and again and trying to stay strong for my brothers and my family, as well as praying for him to be home, as well as the person he’s been missing with as well. [...]t makes it very hard to understand why these things are happening to our family.”

The U.S. Department of State has a travel advisory for Mexico that includes Zacatecas.

The locality-specific advisory language reads: “Do not travel due to crime and kidnapping. Violent crime, extortion, and gang activity are widespread in Zacatecas state. U.S. citizens and [lawful permanent residents] have been victims of kidnapping.”

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