A decomposed body that two fishermen found in woods near Falls Lake earlier this month is “likely” Santos Pastor Portillo, 43, who was reported missing from Durham on Sept. 1, according to the Wake County Sheriff's Office.
A search warrant application also says the sheriff’s office is treating the case as a homicide or suicide because there was no evidence that the person the fishermen found died of “natural or accidental causes and means.”
The body the fishermen found “had hair on/near it that matched the hair (black braided cornrows)” that Portillo had when Raleigh police arrested him on July 18 on a charge of driving while impaired.
“Investigators believe it is likely that the decomposed body ... is Santos Portillo,” Investigator Darcy Weaver wrote in asking a magistrate for permission to search a 1999 Honda CRV that was near the body.
Never miss a local story.
The car was registered to Portillo’s wife, Weaver said. The application said the car “had been reported to have been there for several weeks,” but did not say anyone had reported it to authorities.
A sheriff’s office spokesman declined to say whether the sheriff’s office has received confirmation from the State Medical Examiner of the dead man’s identity.
Portillo’s family last saw him on Aug. 16, the search warrant application said, and reported him missing on Sept. 1.
An inventory of items found in the car included a receipt dated Aug. 19 from a Home Depot store. Weaver also found a passport, a Social Security card and a work identification card clipped to a hard hat, but the list does not say if those carried Portillo’s name.
The inventory also listed a Spanish edition of the Book of Mormon.