MI LENAWEE COUNTY JOHN DOE: W/HM, 20-40, found in cornfield in Blissfield, MI - 19 Nov 1997 *ARREST*


Staff member

On November 19, 1997 unrecognizable human remains were found in a cornfield in section 22 of Blissfield Township, which is west of Corey Highway and north of Carroll Highway in Lenawee County, Michigan. The head and both hands were missing, and the body had sustained damage from insect and animal activity. A layer of snow was covering nearly all of the body. Forensic investigators determined the remains were of a light-skinned Hispanic male, 20-40 years old, approximately 5’8” tall and weighing about 150 pounds. Investigators followed up on a tip indicating the man had come from the McAllen, Texas area, but they were unable to confirm the information or find anyone matching the description missing from that area at the time. The man probably died sometime earlier the same year.

Status: Research in progress

Sex: Male
Race / Ethnicity: White / Caucasian, Hispanic / Latino
Estimated Age Group: Adult
Estimated Age Range (Years): 20-40
Estimated Year of Death: 1997
Height: 5' 8"(68 inches) , Estimated
Weight: 150 lbs, Estimated

Type: Unidentified Deceased
Date Body Found: November 19, 1997
Location Found Map
Location: Blissfield Township, Michigan
County: Lenawee County
Circumstances of Recovery: The body of a light skinned Hispanic male was found west of Corey Highway, north of Carroll Highway in section 22 of Blissfield Township, Lenawee County, Michigan with a layer of snow covering most of the body. Both hands and head were missing. No scars or tattoos present. Per a witness the victim's name is possibly ROBERTO. He was married with children and had a house where he raised chickens between McAllen and Weslaco, Texas. When "Roberto" left home, he was supposed to be traveling only to Chicago and then back.
Details of Recovery
Inventory of Remains: Head not recovered, One or both hands not recovered
Condition of Remains: Not recognizable - Insect/animal activity

Last edited:
Lenawee County John Doe 1997 was added to Gedmatch by the DNA Doe Project. As of February 22, 2021, he had just over 800 DNA matches. His highest match is 51.5 cM - this is not a substantial match. He is on the Google Drive spreadsheet at:

By Amber Ainsworth
Published January 24, 2023 2:57PM

LENAWEE COUNTY, Mich. (FOX 2) - More than 25 years ago, the headless body of a man was found under a thin layer of snow in a Michigan field.

A Lenawee County farmer found the body in Lenawee County's Blissfield Township on Nov. 19, 1997. Police said the hands were also cut off.

When the body was discovered, witnesses told police the victim may have been a man named Roberto, who lived with his wife and children in Texas. When he left his home, he was supposed to be traveling to Chicago and back. However, the case went cold. Without the head and hands, though, police haven't been able to identify the victim and the case went cold.

However, a break in the case led to the arrest of two people Tuesday. The United States Marshals Service located the suspects, who are brothers, in Ohio. They are not being identified because they haven't had charges.

Police said more people may be charged for assisting with the crime or helping cover it up.

Anyone with information is asked to contact MSP D/Sgt. Larry Rothman at 313-407-9379.

  • Updated: Jan. 24, 2023, 4:00 p.m.|
  • Published: Jan. 24, 2023, 3:46 p.m.

Arrest warrants for murder were issued by the Michigan Attorney Generals Office on Jan. 17, police said. The charges stem from an incident on Nov. 19, 1997, in which a disfigured body was found by a farmer in his cornfield, in Blissfield Township, eastern Lenawee County.

The victim’s head and hands had been removed, making positive identification extremely difficult, police said. The remains, belonging to a male “John Doe,” have not been positively identified, said Sgt. Larry Rothman.

The brothers are set to be arraigned in Ohio on Jan. 25, Rothman said, before being extradited to Michigan. The names of the two brothers are being withheld pending arraignment.

Associated Press
January 25, 2023

LANSING, Mich. — Two Ohio men were arrested Tuesday and face extradition on murder and other charges in connection with a 1997 slaying in southern Michigan, Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

Richardo Sepulveda, 51, of Cincinnati, and Michael Sepulveda, 49, of Toledo, were arrested by U.S. marshals in connection with the slaying of an unidentified man in Lenawee County's Blissfield Township, about 88 miles southwest of Detroit, Nessel said.

They face charges of first-degree premeditated murder, assault with intent to maim, conspiracy and tampering with evidence, Nessel said.

"Michigan State Police worked with multiple local and federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to gather evidence and establish a timeline of events," said Nessel.

She did not disclose what linked the Sepulvedas to the slaying.

Frank Witsil
Detroit Free Press
January 27, 2023

Authorities seem closer than ever to resolving two mysteries that have baffled them for a quarter-century: What is the identity of a man whose naked body was brutally mutilated, left handless and headless in a Blissfield Township cornfield? And who was the cold-blooded killer — or killers — who took his life?

Michigan State Police Det. Sgt. Larry Rothman said multiple officers and agencies have been working on the case for years, poring over forensic evidence and gathering information from anyone who might know something that could solve it.

What makes the case especially daunting, as Rothman put it, is it's "an investigation in an investigation."

Until recently, the gruesome homicide never garnered much media attention outside Lenawee County.

This week, U.S marshals made two arrests, which made national headlines, and that, Rothman said, could be the key to cracking the entire case.

"It's still early in the investigation, so there's not a whole lot I can say," the detective said, adding that if he did, it could jeopardize the investigation. "But, we feel these two guys knew the victim, they were acquaintances at one point."

The Daily Telegram in Adrian reported U.S. Marshals picked up Richardo Sepulveda, 51, of Cincinnati, and Michael Sepulveda, 49, of Toledo, in Ohio on Tuesday, charging them in connection with what police believed was a drug homicide. They are charged with first-degree murder, a crime punishable by up to life in prison without parole.

In addition, the brothers face related charges: conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, assault with intent to maim, conspiracy to commit assault with intent to maim, tampering with evidence, and conspiracy to commit tampering with evidence.


More at link ~Summer

by: Steven Masso
Posted: Jun 7, 2023 / 02:12 PM CDT
Updated: Jun 7, 2023 / 03:39 PM CDT

WESLACO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Authorities across multiple states are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the victim of a 1997 homicide, who is believed to have ties to the Rio Grande Valley.

Broadcast reports in Michigan state the killing was believed to be a result of a drug deal after the victim had traveled from the South Texas area. The reports add that the victim had ties to the Weslaco and McAllen area, and that a ranch in between the area could provide answers to his identity.

ValleyCentral spoke with Sgt. Larry D. Rothman, Special Investigation Section with Michigan State Police, who provided more details on the case.

According to Rothman, police received information that the victim was living in the Weslaco and McAllen area, and possibly had a wife and children. The victim is also believed to have had a ranch where there would be cock-fighting.

Additionally, Rothman said the victim would travel to Chicago or Toledo to collect money or drugs. The suspects are believed to have abducted the victim from Toledo.

According to authorities, the victim is believed to be in his 30s, with dark hair, with a name of either “Pablo” or “Roberto.”

Forum statistics

Latest member