RACINE — Racine police on Wednesday, June 1st said the Racine County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified skeletal remains found in 2011 in the City of Racine along the Lake Michigan shore as 31-year-old Antonio Guerrero — who was reported missing from Berwyn, Illinois.
Police say the skeletal remains were found wedged within the shoreline rocks just east of the 5th Street boat launch in Racine on November 12th, 2011.
A forearm and hand discovered three weeks later among the rocks near Carre-Hogle Park approximately one mile south of the boat launch were also matched to Guerrero, police say.
According to a release from Racine police, when this discovery was made, the skeletal remains were sent to the Waukesha County Medical Examiner’s Office where an autopsy was conducted along with an odontology exam in the event teeth found with the remains could be matched to the dental records of a missing person.
The Medical Examiner’s Office further consulted with an independent anthropologist who studied the remains in order to determine the sex, approximate age and ethnicity of the deceased.
This process took nine months to complete and revealed the skeletal remains were that of a male in his early 20s to middle 30s. Ethnicity could not be determined at this time.
Thomas Terry, Racine County’s medical examiner at the time of the discovery, authorized the case information to be entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) database.
While efforts for forensic identification continued, Racine police reviewed the reports of missing persons filed in southeast Wisconsin to compile a list of unsolved missing person’s cases that might match that of the man found among the rocks on the Racine lakefront.
Police discovered Guerrero had been reported missing in September 2011 from his home in Berwyn, Illinois just west of Chicago.
The Guerrero family provided police with information that Guerrero may have been in Racine in September 2011 — when he stopped communicating with family members.
Investigators obtained Guerrero’s dental records to compare with the odontology exam performed on the unidentified male. The exam provided inconclusive results.
Police say the case remained open for the next 15 months while investigators continued to review reports of missing persons who might match the profile provided by the initial anthropology exam.
According to police, in 2015, Waukesha County Medical Examiner Lynda Biedrzycki, M.D. contacted current Racine County Medical Examiner Michael Payne, informing him of her decision to hire forensic anthropologist, Cristina Figueroa Soto, as deputy medical examiner. With Medical Examiner Payne’s authorization, Figueroa Soto examined the referenced unidentified skeletal remains.
Subsequent forensic testing by the University of North Texas (UNT) Center for Human Identification Laboratory found a DNA sequence in the unknown skeletal remains that is more commonly found among persons of Hispanic descent. Figueroa Soto recommended further DNA testing of DNA specimens from Guerrero’s family to assist with this investigation.
In the fall of 2015, police say DNA swabs from Guerrero’s mother and siblings were sent to the UNT Laboratory for comparison with the DNA extracted from the skeletal remains. UNT officials confirmed within a high degree of mathematical probability that the unidentified remains were those of the biological child and sibling of the Guerrero family.
Investigators recently met with the Guerrero family — providing them with the conclusive findings.
The family has since made funeral arrangements for Guerrero.
Police say the manner of death is currently classified as “undetermined.”
Racine police investigators remain interested in additional information anyone may have regarding this investigation. Witnesses, or citizens with information are encouraged to contact the Racine Police Department Investigations Unit at (262) 635-7756.
Those who wish to remain anonymous may contact Crime Stoppers at (262) 636-9330, or text 274637 (CRIMES). Text message should begin with RACS.