The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office released the name Friday of a man found dead in the town of Clifton last year.

Jose Juan Zuniga Jimenez

Jose Juan Zuniga Jimenez

Sheriff Wes Revels said the state crime lab used DNA to identify the skeletal remains of Jose Juan Zuniga Jimenez, who was found by a hunter Nov. 23, 2018.

Police linked Jimenez to an abandoned vehicle in the area 2 ½ years earlier.

Police responded to an abandoned vehicle complaint April 20, 2016, and determined the vehicle had been there for several weeks. Jimenez’ body was found a half mile from where the vehicle was located.

The vehicle, recovered with the keys still in the ignition, was reported stolen out of Sparta. The owner said Jimenez may have used it to skip an upcoming Juneau County court date.

The court date was triggered by a March 31, 2016, domestic incident in the city of Elroy. Before police arrived, Jimenez fled in a vehicle that matched the description of the one found abandoned.

Sheriff’s office Lt. Jeffrey Spencer said there was no reason at the time to believe Jimenez was nearby.

“There was thought that he left the area, which is why nobody told us he was missing,” Spencer said.

Sheriff’s detective John Brose said Jimenez was found with a fraudulent Texas identification card. When asked whether Jimenez was in the United States legally, Brose replied, “I don’t believe so.”

DNA samples from two of Jimenez’ children helped determine his identity.

“If not for DNA, we wouldn’t have identified the victim,” Brose said.

Spencer gave Jimenez’ date of birth as 1977.

Revels said the cause of death hasn’t been determined and that the case is “inactive until further information comes forward.”

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Tomah Journal editor Steve Rundio can be reached at steve.rundio@lee.net.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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