SEMINOLE, Ala. – Authorities say tattoos have helped identify a body found 22 years ago in Alabama’s Styx River as that of a Texas man who helped other migrants find work.
DNA identified the body as Daniel Muniz Jr. after his stepdaughter, Amanda Galleher of Tennessee, found photos of the tattoos in a national database of missing and unidentified people, news outlets report.
The man, whose cause of death was found to be probable drowning, was wearing only jeans when his body was found in March 2000, news outlets reported.
The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office reopened the case in 2019, sending out a news release with photos of distinctive tattoos and posting them on websites about missing people.
Galleher found them in June 2021 on the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System clearinghouse and resource center.
“I was going through every one of the cases that there was, and I had seen the first tattoo pop up of the Indian heazad and that was of my father’s ex-wife that they had put on there,” Galleher told WALA-TV in Mobile.
It took until April 21 for the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences to positively identify Muniz. Al.com reported that he was a migrant worker from Texas. He had been in Baldwin County to help migrant workers find jobs, WPMI-TV reported.
Because his body was found near the community of Seminole, the unidentified man had been listed as “Seminole Doe,” WKRG-TV reported.
Galleher told WALA that she plans to travel to Alabama to visit her stepfather's grave.
"They even got a tombstone,” she said. “There’s a lot of people in the world who have family and don’t even have a tombstone, so I feel like the county he’s in did him justice.”
She said she plans to have a new gravestone made.