2 face murder charges 25 years after unidentified man found decapitated in Lenawee County

Body of unidentified man found by farmer in Blissfield Township in 1997

Blissfield Township John Doe murder victim found on Nov. 19, 1977. The sketch was created from an interview with a witness. (NamUs)

BLISSFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Two Ohio men are facing murder charges in the death of a man found decapitated in Lenawee County 25 years ago. The victim still hasn’t been identified.

Richardo Sepulveda, 51 of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Michael Sepulveda, 49 of Toledo, Ohio, were arrested on Tuesday (Jan. 24) by the United States Marshalls Service. They are facing first-degree murder charges in the brutal slaying of the unidentified man.

The victim’s body was discovered by a farmer in their Blissfield Township cornfield on Nov. 19, 1997. The cornfield is located west of Corey Highway and north of Carroll Highway. There was a layer of snow covering most of the body.

The man was completely naked. He had been decapitated and his hands had been cut off from just above the wrist. Officers noted what appeared to be saw striations on the ends of the bones, meaning a saw may have been used to remove the body parts.

His hands and head were missing. He did not have any scars or tattoos. He is described as being a light-skinned Hispanic man. He stood an estimated 5′8′' tall and weighed an estimated 150 lbs.

A witness at the time believed his name may have been “Roberto,” according to the listing in the national missing persons database. The victim may have been married with children and had a house where he raised chickens between McAllen and Weslaco, Texas. When “Roberto” left home he was supposed to be traveling only to Chicago and then back.

Previous report: 25 years later: 2 Ohio brothers arrested in connection with brutal 1997 Michigan murder

Richardo Sepulveda and Michael Sepulveda are both facing the following charges:

  • First-degree premeditated murder
  • Conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder
  • Assault with intent to maim
  • Conspiracy to commit assault with intent to maim
  • Tampering with evidence
  • Conspiracy to commit tampering with evidence

If convicted on either of the first-degree premeditated murder charges, Richardo Sepulveda and Michael Sepulveda are facing a life sentence without the possibility of parole. The rest of the charges are 10-year felonies.

Michael Sepulveda waived extradition, meaning he relinquished his right to an extradition hearing. Richardo Sepulveda was expected in court Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.

Officials have determined that the unidentified man is not James Cooper, last seen on Oct. 25, 1996, or Robert Villarreal, last seen on May 1, 1989.

Anyone with information about the case should contact Michigan State Police D/Sgt. Larry Rothman at 313-407-9379.

Read: Michigan cold case coverage

Why is ClickOnDetroit covering so many cold cases?

We’re working to bring attention to as many unsolved and missing persons cases from around the state as we can. Our hope is that getting this important information out to the public will help generate tips for investigators and potentially lead to closure for the affected families. If you have a cold case you’d like us to look into, please let us know by using the form below.

Blissfield Township John Doe murder victim found on Nov. 19, 1977. The sketch was created from an interview with a witness. (NamUs)

About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.