The Bexar County Medical Examiner is using fingerprints to identify the badly decomposed body of a newly-hired construction worker who apparently fell to his death inside a smokestack at The Pearl, a premier downtown development at the old Pearl Brewery.
Nero Diaz said he knows it has to be his eldest brother, 31-year-old Victor Diaz, who had been missing since Aug. 14 soon after reporting for work.
Diaz said his brother had been hired as a metal worker, and was not the type of walk off his first day on the job.
San Antonio Police said they were told company crews searched the area.
So did Nero Diaz and his co-workers from another job site.
“We left work to look for him, but we didn’t find him,” Diaz said.
Finally, Tuesday, the smell of death and flies around a small door at the base of one of the Pearl’s distinctive smokestacks led to the grim discovery. Diaz’s construction helmet and harness were laying nearby.
Diaz said when he made it to the scene, he was not allowed to see the body, but did recognize his brother’s shoes and he was told the clothing description he gave matched that of the victim.
“The police and ambulances came, but the day he disappeared, they didn’t do anything,” Diaz said.
Although Diaz said he filed a missing persons report and checked daily with SAPD, he was frustrated by the lack of response since his brother was an adult.
Diaz said he told police his brother had to be the Pearl since he was new to town and had no transportation.
“Maybe if they’d used search dogs, they would have found him right away,” Diaz said. “But they did nothing.”
Adding to the mystery, Diaz said he questions why his brother was found in an area where he wasn’t supposed to be working.
Police said it appears Victor Diaz somehow entered an elevated duct connecting the old Boiler House with the smokestack, where he fell 20 feet.
Diaz said he was told it had a screen across the opening, as well as a large fan.
He also said there was blood on the inside of a locked door that his brother had tried knocking to alert the outside world.
“He suffered in there,” Diaz said.
He said his brother leaves behind a wife, two small children, their parents in Chiapas, Mexico’s southernmost state.
Diaz said he also is awaiting confirmation by the Medical Examiner before breaking the news to his family.
He said his brother was happy about moving from Atlanta to be near his brother and two sisters in San Antonio.
Diaz said, “I told him someday we would return to Mexico together.”
Now, Diaz said they’re trying to raise money so they can bring his brother’s body home. Otherwise, Diaz said he hopes the Mexican Consulate can help.
For a list of recent stories Jessie Degollado has done, click here.