Missing Green Bay man's sister talks about newly filed murder charges

Jovanny Puga was 18-years-old when he was last seen alive in February 2017. (Photo courtesy Ana Alicia Puga)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Murder charges have been filed, but a Green Bay man's body is still missing, leaving his family without closure.

Jovanny Puga's sister, Ana Alicia Puga, spoke with FOX 11 a day after four people were charged for being involved in his death.

Puga, a graduate of Green Bay West High School, was 18-years-old when he was last seen alive Feb. 25, 2017.

“There was never a time where he didn't call me or tell me a good morning or goodnight and then all of a sudden it was just nothing from him, at all,” said Ana Alicia Puga.

Puga says a few weeks after last speaking with her older brother, she started hearing rumors he was beat up and thrown in the Milwaukee River.

“With us, we always try to stay positive and always thought he was probably hiding and just not speaking to us or had no way to contact us,” said Puga.

About the time the rumors started, Brandan Guyton-Denn, 19, of Green Bay; Shawn Leitner, 19, of Manitowoc; and Jaleel Shultz, 19, of Milwaukee; were pulled over and arrested in West Bend for stealing a Chevy Impala.

Court records show police found internet searches on each of their phones for phrases like "milwaukee deaths in the river," "manslaughter in milwaukee," and "Lincoln park Milwaukee satellite view." The searches were done the day after Puga was last seen alive.

“Without finding a body or remains, it makes it even more difficult at that time,” said Brad Linzmeier, a detective with the Green Bay Police Department.

Eventually, Green Bay Police teamed with Milwaukee area agencies and started putting their pieces together.

“The delay basically was not getting a lot of cooperation from people early in the investigation,” said Linzmeier. “People who knew what happened just weren't coming forward and telling us what happened.”

Police say eventually enough evidence was collected that Guyton-Denn and Leitner admitted to beating up Puga, along with Schultz.

Court records show Guyton-Denn had his girlfriend, Emma Brud of De Pere, bring Puga to Milwaukee as part of a revenge plot because they believed Puga disrespected Leitner.

Leitner told investigators that after the trio beat up Puga, Shultz forced Puga to undress, stood on his neck, and threw him into the river.

“I just think it's cruel how people can be,” said Puga. “To want to teach somebody a lesson that way and hear someone beg for their life, it's just hard.”

What makes it even more difficult for Puga's family is his body has yet to be found.

“A body is going to float,” said Puga. “Somebody had to have seen it somewhere.”

Puga says until her family sees a body, it will hold out hope Jovanny could still be alive.

“You know we won't stop until we find the body,” said Puga.

The charges against Guyton-Denn, Leitner and Schultz are for first degree reckless homicide, as a party to a crime. Brud is charged with harboring or aiding a felon and hiding physical evidence for getting rid of Puga's clothes.

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