Chaves County deputies investigate body found in tree


ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – A puzzling and downright bizarre death. A man found high up in a tree, in an awkward position, and deputies say he was likely there for days. The body was 15 feet above the ground on a farm near Roswell.

Investigators believe the body is 30-year-old Sergio Alexander Salas, who was reported missing May 25. That man’s mother shed some light on the bizarre situation.

“He was very MacGyver like,” said Sheryl Cooper, Salas’ mother.

Salas’ mother says her son often left for days at a time, but when he didn’t come back after seven days she reported him missing.

“He had plans you know? It’s not like he was depressed or anything like that. It’s just a mystery,” said Cooper.

Thursday, the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a body found in a tree southeast of East Brasher Road and South Atkinson.

Deputies say they believe the person climbed the tree for unknown reasons, and was either injured by falling from higher up in the tree or was overcome by exhaustion, or both.

Salas’ mom says it would make sense that it would be him.

“He liked to be out in trees and isolate himself. He had some PTSD and he would just like to be alone,” she explained.

Salas’ car was found less than a mile from where the body was discovered. It’s an area Salas’ mother had searched for him for days, indicating the two cases are likely connected.

But Sheryl Cooper says she’s still holding out hope.

”I really hope that who they found is not him. I’m not wishing it to be somebody else’s family member by no means, but if it is, which I kind of feel like it is, but there’s still a small chance it’s not,” she said.

Salas’ mother says people in the area told her that they saw Salas working on his truck in the area where it was found, along Old Dexter Highway.

Anyone who saw Salas in that area is also asked to contact the sheriff’s office.

Deputies are not sure of the cause of death due to the body’s state of decomposition, but they estimate it was out there for three to four days.

KRQE News 13 is still waiting for the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office to make a positive ID. The body has been sent to the Office of the Medical Investigator in Albuquerque for autopsy.

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