TCSO investigating decades-old cold cases of unidentified victims

The Travis County Sheriff's Office recently launched a website for unsolved mysteries in hopes of getting new leads.

A few of those cases involve people who have been unidentified for decades. 

Det. Javier Hernandez is the only cold case detective at TCSO, but he works closely with the homicide unit. 

"The push now is that I was assigned to the unit, I have goals in mind, and one of my goals was to develop a page for our cold case so that our victims can have a face and a voice and so that the community knows that we are working on these cases," Det. Hernandez said.

These are the unidentified cold cases TCSO is working:

  • A Hispanic male was found on June 20, 1976, just north of what is now known as Hill Lane and Toll Road 130, lying in a ditch in Manor. He was in his mid-20s, about 155 pounds, 5'7", and had black hair that reached his collar. "Jose Juarez" was tattooed on the inside of his right forearm.
  • A Black male was found on Sept. 18, 1998, near the Wild Basin Preserve on North Capital of Texas Highway. He was between 50-60 years old and between 5'4" and 5'8" and may have walked with a limp.
  • A Hispanic male was found on Feb. 1, 2004, on the 20400 block of Blake Manor Road. He was between 30-40 years old, about 130 pounds, 5'6" with black and gray hair in a 12-inch ponytail. He was last seen at a bar in Manor the night before.

Hernandez says for cold cases, he looks at everything from the beginning, as well as what can be analyzed with today's technology. 

"I try to first verify to see what evidence do we have on hand," he said. "If we do have evidence, we try to bring it up to today's standards."


When it comes to bodies that are found, they try to get DNA from family members if they know who they are. If not, they try to send DNA samples to the University of North Texas to try to give the unidentified a name. 

"They'll try to do what we hear a lot today, that FGG, the familial genetic genealogy, to see if someone can be identified. And if they give us a lead, they will follow that lead to try to find that family member that's closest to that individual," Hernandez said.

If you have any information about these cases, you can submit tips using any of the following methods: