Body found floating in Saginaw River 50 years ago identified as Texas man

After 50 years of not knowing the identity of a body found floating in the Saginaw River, police now know it was a man who moved to Michigan from Texas.

Daniel C. Garza-Gonzales was murdered in 1973, and his body was found floating in the river in Zilwaukee Township on March 13, 1973.

An autopsy determined that 29-year-old Garza-Gonzales had been knocked down and shot seven times. He suffered blunt force trauma to the back of the head. A fisherman found him about six weeks after the murder.

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Garza-Gonzales was buried as a John Doe and the case went cold until the Michigan State Police Third District Cold Case Team and the MSP Missing Persons Coordination Unit reexamined the case in 2020. The body was exhumed for advanced DNA testing. The remains were sent to the Michigan State University Anthropology unit.

With help from the DNA Doe Project in late 2021, previously obtained hair samples and a new bone sample were sent to Astrea Forensics for forensic genetic genealogy, and a possible family match was made in 2022. That match was in Beeville, Texas. DNA from family members confirmed that the man was Garza-Gonzales.

Read more stories from around Michigan here.

Garza-Gonzales was an injured Vietnam War veteran. When he was done serving, he moved from Fort Worth Texas to Flint, Mich. to find work. His family never heard from him again. 

Anyone with information about the murder is asked to contact MSP D/Sgt. Bill Arndt 989-615-6257.