Missing architect from Ohio, his fiancée found dead in Mexico

An Ohio architect, his fiancée and two relatives who went missing on Christmas Day in Mexico have been confirmed dead.

The death of José Gutiérrez, who was in Mexico for the holidays with his fiancée Daniela Pichardo, was announced Tuesday by his employer Champlin Architecture in a Facebook post.

“He will be missed by all of us more than words can express,” the company wrote.

Last week, local authorities in Mexico found four bodies and a van riddled with bullet holes in the state of Zacatecas, according to local media.

Three of the four bodies have been identified as Pichardo, his sister and his cousin. The fourth body, belonging to a man, is believed to be the remains of Gutiérrez, Ohio news station PKB 19 reported.

Investigators are awaiting DNA confirmation before definitively identifying the remains.

The bodies found in the van riddled with bullets are believed to be the remains of José Gutiérrez, his fiancée, his sister and his cousin.
Gutierrez family

The van had at least a dozen bullet holes, as well as flat tires. It is believed to be the vehicle the quartet used to get around Zacatecas, TV Azteca reported.

The families of Gutiérrez and Pichardo feared they had been kidnapped after hearing no news after Christmas Day.

Witnesses reported hearing screams of panic and seeing the four being pulled into a van.


José Gutiérrez was traveling in a van with his fiancée and relatives in Zacatecas.
José Gutiérrez was traveling in a van with his fiancée and relatives in Zacatecas.
gutierjm/Facebook

The US State Department lists Zacatecas in its “do not travel” advisory for Americans due to past kidnappings and ongoing violence in the area.

“Violent crime, extortion and gang activity are prevalent in the state of Zacatecas. US citizens and LPR [lawful permanent residents] were victims of abductions,” the councilor said.


José Gutiérrez and Daniela Pichardo planned to get married this year.
José Gutiérrez and Daniela Pichardo planned to get married this year.
Gutierrez family

Gutiérrez was born in Mexico before moving to the United States. He received his master’s degree from the University of Miami and worked for the Cincinnati-based firm Champlin Architecture.

The firm announced that it plans to establish a scholarship in his name at his alma mater “to honor his impact on our firm and the community.”

Gutiérrez and Pichardo planned to get married this year.

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