DNA match confirms Cincinnati architect killed in Mexico

Three other bodies were found last week alongside 36-year-old Jose Gutiérrez.
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 4:49 PM EST
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HAMILTON, Ohio (WXIX) - A DNA match confirms one of four bodies found last week in Mexico is that of Cincinnati architect and Hamilton resident Jose Gutiérrez.

The family says the match returned with 99 percent accuracy.

The other bodies were confirmed last week to be those of Jose’s fiancée, Daniela Pichardo, as well as Pichardo’s sister and cousin.

The car Jose and Daniela used in Mexico was found days prior riddled with bullet holes.

The family is now working to return Jose’s body to the U.S., according to an online fundraiser set up for burial expenses.

Jose, 36, the oldest of seven siblings, received his master’s from Miami University and worked for a Cincinnati-based firm as an architect. Born in Mexico, his family has described him as a role model who overcame all odds to earn his degree.

He was last seen in the U.S. at CVG when he left on Dec. 22 for Zacatecas, one of Mexico’s 31 states. Jose was going to visit Daniela, something his family says he did often. The couple had a 2023 wedding date.

Jose’s brother, Miguel was the one to drop him off at the airport having no idea it would be the last time he’d see his role model—his “second dad”—alive. “I just told him, ‘I’ll see you next week.’ We’re supposed to meet up in eight days.”

Miguel says he has trouble sleeping at night thinking about it.

“We sat in silence for a long time; it was very hard for us,” he said. “We, we we’re looking for a result of him coming home alive. [...]We kept praying and praying that it would not turn out as it did, but it did. We just have to stay strong.”

Brandie Gutiérrez, Jose’s sister, says she last heard from him and his fiancée when the foursome 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 family didn’t hear from him after that.

Jose was an architect with Champlin Architecture in Cincinnati. The company says they will soon start a scholarship in his honor at Miami University.

“That is very well respected of them, and I appreciate what they’re doing,” Miguel said. “I just want to keep his memory alive.”

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