New info in Kitt Peak wreckage, human remains

New info in Kitt Peak wreckage, human remains

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - There's new information about the skeletal remains found inside a crashed car near Kitt Peak.

Tucson News Now has confirmed the vehicle belonged to a local man reported missing in Tucson nearly 16 years ago. Without positive identification from the medical examiner's office, officials have yet to release the man's identity publicly.

Though on Thursday, his son spoke exclusively to Tucson News Now.

"I literally, my knees buckled and I lost my composure on the side of the road," said Victor Cortez, 52, after receiving word that his father's vehicle was found.

"After all these years, they found my father and this has finally come to an end," he said.

Tucson News Now was first to report the discovery last week, when Tohono O'odham Police found a 1988 Mercury Marquee at the bottom of a steep embankment along the road to Kitt Peak.

Inside the wreckage were human remains.

Through detective work and repair records attained via CARFAX, authorities said the vehicle belonged to 59-year-old Santiago Cortez, a local man and retired ADOT supervisor, who was reported missing in June 2000.

"I think a statement from my mother was, the strongest thing that kept me going is we will find out - in this world or the next - we're gonna know what happened to your dad," Cortez said.

Authorities tell the family they are 95 percent sure the remains belong to Santiago Cortez.

Official confirmation is expected from the Medical Examiner in coming weeks.

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