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Identity of man found in tree confirmed; Victim was father, military veteran, had PTSD


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New Mexico’s Office of the Medical Investigator has confirmed the identity of the man found deceased in a tree southeast of Roswell earlier this month as Sergio Alexander Salas.

Salas attended New Mexico Military Institute, New Mexico’s Youth ChalleNGe Academy and served in the U.S. Army from 2004 until he was honorably discharged in 2010. He was first in the 3rd Infantry and later an Army Ranger. Salas had a total of three tours overseas and was recognized with many awards including the Army Commendation Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and the Iraq Campaign Medal.
A memorial service was held Monday evening at Anderson-Bethany Funeral Home & Crematory in Salas’ honor. Family members and friends said the veteran struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder after leaving the military. Attendants celebrated Salas’ adventurous, “MacGyver-like” spirit with humorous stories from his life.
The confirmation on Salas’ ID was made late last week using fingerprints, Chaves County Sheriff Britt Snyder said Monday in a news release. Salas had been reported missing to the Roswell Police Department on June 2 by his mother.
When the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office responded June 8 to a report of a body discovered in a tree on a farm southeast of East Brasher Road and South Atkinson Avenue, they were unable to make a positive identification.
His body was found suspended in a tree, 15 feet above the ground, on the private farm property, just southeast of city limits.
Upon examination, Snyder said the Office of the Medical Investigator in Albuquerque reported finding no signs of trauma linked to the cause of death.
The medical investigator is waiting toxicology reports to be completed before issuing a final report.
Multimedia-crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.