DNA helps ID Texas man’s body found in Michigan river in ’73

January 6, 2023 GMT

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — DNA has led to the identification of a Texas man whose body was found floating in a mid-Michigan river nearly 50 years ago, police said Thursday.

Michigan State Police and The DNA Doe Project announced Thursday that the body found in the Saginaw River outside Saginaw on March 13, 1973, was that of Daniel G. Garza-Gonzales, who would have turned 29 two days later.

Garza-Gonzales had left Fort Worth hoping to find work in Flint, but his family never heard from him again, The Saginaw News reported.

An autopsy determined Garza-Gonzales had been shot seven times and had blunt force trauma to the back of his head, state police said. A medical examiner suspected he had died about six weeks earlier.

In 2020, a state police cold case team and a state police missing persons coodination unit reopened the case and hair and bone samples were sent to a California forensic genetic genealogy lab.

A possible familial match was located last summer with help from the DNA Doe Project, which seeks to identify previously unidentified remains. and linked the remains to a family in Beeville, Texas. Investigators obtained family DNA reference samples that were sent to an FBI DNA lab for comparison.

The FBI confirmed in December that the remains were those of Garza-Gonzales.

Anyone with information about Garza-Gonzales’ slaying is asked to call MSP Detective Sgt. Bill Arndt at 989-615-6257.