FARMINGTON — The FBI’s office in Albuquerque announced Tuesday it had identified the remains of a man found on the Navajo Nation more than two years ago.
The FBI said in a press release that the remains — a human skull and other bone fragments — were identified through DNA analysis as Jesse Jacob Estrada Jr.
Estrada was last seen by a family member in April 2012 in Farmington. The remains were found on May 26, 2012, near the Nenahnezad Chapter house in Fruitland.
FBI spokesman Frank Fisher said the remains were identified a few months ago, but his office did not immediately publicize the information so agents could pursue potential leads. The FBI and Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety are continuing to investigate Estrada’s disappearance.
According to an obituary published in The Daily Times in July 2013, Estrada was a U.S. Army veteran who had a passion for music and baseball.
He is survived by his parents, Jesse and Lori Estrada; brother, Nick Estrada; sister, Karissa Estrada; and two twin daughters, Kiana and Kiera Estrada.
Lori Estrada said her son attended Farmington High School in ninth grade and then transferred to Casa by the Sea, a residential school in Baja California, Mexico.
The mother, who lives in Farmington, said her son struggled with drug issues during his youth, but he was always close with his family, particularly his brother and sister.
“J.J. was an amazing young man,” she said. “His smile lit up the world.”
She said her son joined the Army in 2012 and performed well in boot camp. He was admitted into Army Airborne School in Georgia but was sent home shortly after arriving. She said her son struggled with mental illness, which led to his discharge.
Lori Estrada said the family does not know what could have caused his disappearance.
“We didn’t know of any bad influences,” she said. “He didn’t bring that around us.”
Fisher said Estrada did not have any gang affiliations. According to court records, Estrada pleaded guilty to aggravated fleeing of a law enforcement officer and abandonment of a child after a domestic incident in March 2009. He was sentenced to one and a half years of probation in lieu of a prison sentence.
Anyone with information regarding the case can contact the FBI in Albuquerque at 505-889-1300.
Tips can also be submitted online at tips.fbi.gov.