Officials in Chihuahua say they have located the body of Patrick Braxton-Andrew, a United States citizen who disappeared October 28 in Urique.
Governor Javier Corral announced last week that an intensive search for the missing man had revealed he had been killed, but there was no indication as to the whereabouts of the body.
Yesterday, the 34-year-old North Carolina man’s family wrote on Facebook that it was “with a sense of relief that we are able to confirm that Patrick’s body has been recovered and we will be able to bring him home soon.”
The news was later confirmed by Corral, who explained that the body had been buried by his killers but due to “pressure exerted by the official search operation” the corpse was exhumed and abandoned near the town of Guapalayna, between Urique and Batopilas.
Braxton-Andrew’s relatives where informed of the discovery following a positive identification of the body, which will be sent to North Carolina as soon as the legal procedures are completed, the governor said.
Corral said efforts will now focus on apprehending José Noriel Portillo Gil, also known as “El Chueco,” who is believed to have been responsible for the homicide. His Gente Nueva gang has been linked to the Sinaloa Cartel.
“He will pay dearly for what he’s done,” said the governor.
Some Urique residents believe the gang killed Braxton-Andrew thinking he was with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The fluent Spanish speaker asked a lot of questions about the culture of the region, they said, and spent time exploring the area. In addition, his knowledge of the language set him apart from most tourists.
On the day he disappeared he attended a party where there were armed civilians belonging to Gente Nueva. Locals suspect they felt threatened by the man so they killed him.