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"Roberto" is the possible name of a male whose remains were found in Blissfield Township, Michigan in 1997.

He is currently undergoing testing by the DNA Doe Project.

Case

Discovery

On the afternoon of November 19, 1997, a farmer preparing his cornfield for harvesting discovered a body. The body was completely unrecognizable; both the head and hands had been severed and insect activity had caused further damage. To date, the victim's head and hands have never been recovered.

The field in which the victim was found in sits west of Corey Highway between Blissfield Township and Deerfield. It is believed that the body was dumped in the field sometime in the previous months, possibly September.

Investigation

Michigan State Police would launch an extensive investigation into the death. It didn't take long for a witness to come forward with valuable information. The source would tell investigators that they believed the victim was a subject they knew as "Roberto". Roberto is believed to have spent time in Chicago, Illinois, but was a resident of McAllen, Texas. He may have lived in a white house just outside McAllen where he raised chickens, possibly for cockfighting. It is also believed that Roberto had a wife and two daughters, who would have been in elementary school when their father died.

In the days leading up to his death, Roberto left McAllen to embark on one of his many trips to Chicago. At the time, he was driving a silver, black, or blue mid-90s Ford Taurus. While en route, there was a change of plans and Roberto ended up driving to Toledo, Ohio instead; however, he didn't stay in Toledo for long before making another trip to southern Michigan. Roberto was murdered not long after he arrived in Michigan and afterwards, his killers disposed of his head, hands, and car. It is believed that Roberto's murder was drug-related.

Coordination with McAllen police failed to find any missing persons from that area consistent with Roberto's description. It is believed that Roberto and his family were undocumented immigrants and did not file a missing person's report when he didn't return home. It is possible, however, that the family traveled to Chicago to look for him.

The investigation has been reopened twice over the years - most recently being in November of 2016. During that time, the Ottawa River in Toledo was searched and credible evidence, which has not been revealed, was yielded. A composite sketch of what Roberto may have looked like was created with help from the witness in the case. A sketch of a known associate of Roberto was also created. The subject, known only by the nickname of "Pelon", was around 30 years old in 1997 and also from McAllen. Pelon may have worked at or owned an auto body service or garage and was last seen driving a red 1996 Jeep Cherokee. It is not clear how Pelon is connected with the murder and whether he was involved, just a witness, or only knows the people responsible remains a mystery.

"Pelon"

The DNA Doe Project began genetic research on the case in early 2020.

Sources

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