OCONTO COUNTY (NBC 26) — A Green Bay man is facing homicide charges in connection to a found body investigation that began in February.
The Oconto County Sheriff's Office said Monday that charges of first degree intentional homicide have been recommended to the Oconto County District Attorney’s Office for 32-year-old Manuel Antonio Herrera-Hernandez.
The investigation began when a body was found on the morning of February 22. The Oconto County Sheriff's Office said the body was found in the parking area of the Green Bay Shores State Wildlife Area on Lade Beach Road, which is located in the town of Little Suamico. The sheriff's office said the body had been there for some time due to being partially covered in snow.
The man's death was investigated as a homicide after the sheriff's office said several fired 9mm ammunition cartridge cases were found near the body and authorities found the body had gunshot wounds. A weapon was not found at the scene.
While initially unidentified, the sheriff's office was able to identify him, with the help of Green Bay Police, as a 35-year-old man. The sheriff's office only identified him through his initials in a news release.
The sheriff's office said an investigation revealed that the victim left with another person on February 21 from a residence on Walnut Street in Green Bay. Witnesses told investigators he didn't return and no one had contact with him. The sheriff's office said investigators conducted numerous interviews, executed numerous search warrants and continued with the follow-up investigation.
On May 17, Herrera-Hernandez and a 30-year-old Green Bay woman were arrested on drug-related charges following a traffic stop in Green Bay. The sheriff's office said the woman told investigators that Herrera-Hernandez had shot and killed the victim. In another interview with investigators, the sheriff's office said Herrera-Hernandez admitted to shooting the victim, saying the victim owed a drug debt.
The sheriff's office said law enforcement learned that the victim was involved in the sale and distribution of illegal narcotics in the Green Bay area.
Multiple law enforcement departments were involved in the investigation, including the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, Wisconsin Department of Justice State Crime Lab, Green Bay Police Department, Brown County Sheriff’s Office, Brown County Sheriff’s Office Drug Task Force, Shawano County Sheriff’s Office, Shawano Police Department, Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office, Clintonville Police Department, Oconto County District Attorney’s Office, Brown County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office.