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Sister searches for answers after her brother’s body is found in a field


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ST. ANTHONY — A sister is trying to solve a lot of questions as to how her brother’s body ended up in a Fremont County field on Christmas Day.

The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office announced last week that 30-year-old Juan Manuel Barragan-Martinez from Denver, Colorado was found in a rural field in the Parker area around 10 a.m. on Dec. 25. Someone reported finding him near 1900 East and 600 North.

RELATED: Authorities identify body found in field on Christmas

“They found him alone and they found him as an unknown body but we want people to know that he has a name. He has a family,” said Nayeli, Barragan-Martinez’s sister, who asked to only use her first name. “We are kind of in limbo, to be honest. We want to know how he got there. We are trying to find out.”

Nayeli flew to St. Anthony from Colorado on Dec. 27 after she had heard what happened to her oldest brother.

“We know that he didn’t get there on his own. He’s not a careless person. He had a (12-year-old) child, he was a dad,” she said. “He cared about his life, he loved his life…A lot of people knew him here (in Colorado). He was really outgoing. Even though we had hardships in the family, he tried to stay positive. He was really independent.”

The last time Nayeli spoke with her brother was the day before he died, on Christmas Eve. It was also the last time their mother heard from him too.

Juan 2
Juan Manuel Barragan-Martinez. | Courtesy: GoFundMe

“He always tried to keep in contact with my mom – little messages and pictures. He would send text messages (and) calls. He was a mama’s boy. He cared about family a lot. He would call my mom a lot. We know that night (Christmas Eve), he texted my mom, ‘Merry Christmas’ and he sent her videos of where he was at,” she said. “After that, he called me but I was just so busy.”

Nayeli said he was doing great and that he was happy it was almost Christmas because it was his favorite time of year. She’s unsure how he ended up dead the next day.

The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office said it appeared Barragan-Martinez died due to prolonged exposure to the elements. The sheriff told that investigators do not suspect foul play and it’s unclear how long Barragan-Martinez was in the field.

RELATED: Sheriff’s office seeking information about body found in field

“I do agree that he could have died from exposure. I know that he was frozen,” said Nayeli. “I know that the detective has been really helpful in trying to keep us updated.”

She knew her brother was going to Idaho for a job. He worked in construction, specifically in roofing.

“We know that he was with people, coworkers. We didn’t know them. He didn’t talk about any friends. He would talk about his work, his day and he’s doing great,” she explained.

Nayeli told she flew back to Colorado on Sunday, Jan. 9 with her brother’s cremated remains and they will be preparing a funeral service for him soon. Currently, a GoFundMe account is set up for his funeral expenses.

She’s just hoping that one day soon, she will know what happened to her brother.

“People are not going to be at peace until we find answers. We care for him. There was a lot of people that loved him,” she said.