Hastings, MN (KROC AM News) - The Dakota County Sheriff’s office says a Twin Cities man whose body was found at a nature preserve in Mendota Heights on Thanksgiving Day was not the victim of a homicide.

An autopsy has determined he died from exposure to cold and wet weather. It’s also suspected he had taken a considerable amount of methamphetamine prior to his death.  

A hiker discovered the body of 35-year-old Joseph Michael Hernandez, who was reported missing Nov 7. Hernandez was last seen at a Mendota Heights motel, about three miles from where his body was found. Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie says investigators learned he left the motel on foot after arguing with a friend.

Leslie says results of the investigation by detectives and the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office has “led to the probable conclusion that Mr. Hernandez died from exposure to the cold and rainy weather, and that acute methamphetamine toxicity was also a factor in his death.”

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