Partial remains of Valley man found, family still searching for answers

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- After 20-year-old Luis Montana disappeared in 2019, his parents' questions about his death are still completely unanswered, while his remains have only been partially found.

November 30, 2019, he and his family were together celebrating his brother's birthday before Luis left with a couple of friends.

"He left his wallet. He left everything. He left his cell phone," said Luis' father Antonio Montana. "I don't know where he was going. He just told me, 'I am going with my friends. I am coming back in half an hour.'"

When Luis didn't come home, his parents and siblings worried. Days went by and they filed a police report. Weeks passed and they hoped he had taken off with friends.

But six months ago, they learned for certain that Luis would never be coming home.

October 5, 2021, officials broke the news to the Montana family that a skull found in an empty field near Nielsen and Hughes had been identified as their son's.

The field is surrounded by four local cemeteries where thousands of people are laid to rest. But with so many unanswered questions, there is no rest for Luis.

"You have a cemetery there and I wish to have my son there and put some flowers, you know. Pray for him," said Antonio. "But right here, I don't know where."

Antonio says his contact with law enforcement about this son's case has been minimal.

In desperation, Luis' mother even resorted to searching the field herself. She found a bone that turned out to be animal remains.

Last week, on what would have been Luis' 23rd birthday, Antonio returned to the field and shared his frustrations about unanswered questions and his son's unfound remains on social media.

While Antonio says he understands the Fresno Police Department is inundated with investigations, he says he's willing to grab a shovel and dig for the rest of his son's remains himself.

"Every day, this is my way to school for my little kid. Even for my work so every day, I drive here," said Antonio.

Fresno Police tells Action News that the missing person's case for Luis Montana was closed the day his skull was identified as his.

Since then, homicide detectives have become involved, but the case has not been classified as a homicide because it's still not known how Luis died.

Officials say that the Fresno County Coroner's Office did conduct three additional searches of the field in October and November of 2021. They say a cadaver dog searched the area as recently as this month, with another search planned soon.

"I just pray that if somebody knows something, they tell the police," said Luis' father.

The Montana family says they knew the two friends that Luis left with the night he disappeared fairly well. They say they never heard from them again after that night.

Information about the death of Luis Montana can be reported anonymously to Valley Crimestoppers.
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