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Valley chef known as 'grandpa' found dead in canal. His family hasn't found any answers

The body of Jose Jimenez was found in the canal on Nov. 6 a day after he left work.

PHOENIX — The death of Jose Mackario Jimenez remains a mystery more than a week after his body was found in a north Phoenix canal, investigators said.

The 47-year-old’s remains were found by a utility worker early in the morning on Nov. 6 near 7th Avenue and Dunlap Road, his wife, Amanda Nash-Jimenez, said.

Jose had finished an event working as a chef for Cloth and Flame and went to pick up his bike at Little Miss BBQ Saturday evening when he disappeared.

“My husband last messaged me on the evening of the fifth at 10:19 letting me know that he was rolling home, meaning on his bike,” she said. “But he never came back.”

Amanda, family, and friends looked for him all night, she even called nearby hospitals. But It wasn’t until noon the next day a detective arrived at her home with the tragic news.

“The fact that he wound up where he did is just heartbreaking and almost impossible and unfathomable in every way because my husband does not like water, he does not ride parallel to the canal, [and] he has no scratches, road marks or anything as if he fell off his bike and hit the ground,” Amanda said.

Jose was an avid cycler, his wife said. His cell phone and Weinmann bike were not found by police when his remains were located.

She believes if someone hurt him and caused his death, they would be after his expensive bike. Amanda wants the police to do more in the case.

“They handed us his soaking wet backpack in a bag and later came back and told us that they forgot to DNA swab it,” she said. “Like what is happening? What do you mean? You stood at my door and told me it was a murder investigation, how was that not looked at?”

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Credit: Amanda Nash-Jimenez

Looking for closure

Many questions remain in the investigation. Detectives are reportedly investigating and couldn’t provide more details about the case.

In the meantime, the family has created a GoFundMe to help with the funeral and other expenses, and friends are organizing a fundraising event on November 17 at The Lost Leaf starting at 9 p.m.

They hope someone will come forward and help them solve his case.

“We want answers, for him and for us, we want them. We want justice,” Amanda said.

RELATED: 'Somebody killed my brother': Valley family hoping to find answers in death of 27-year-old man

Loved by many

Jose Mackario Jimenez was a husband, father of two, and grandfather of one.

“He loved his family, that was his number one thing,” said his daughter, Vanessa Romero. “I want him to be remembered for all the things he’s done for the community.”

Aside from spending time caring for his family, he was an active member of his community. He shared his cooking talent and delighted many palates across the Valley.

Before his death, Jose was working as a reserved chef at Cloth and Flame and as a cook at Lille Miss BBQ. His previous cooking experience includes Gallo Blanco, Welcome Diner, and Garcia’s Las Avenidas.

“He really prided himself on work ethic and serving others,” Amanda said. “In the community, he was known as ‘grandpa’ because he really loved and cared about everyone and tried to push everyone to be their best selves.”

That was one of the many things that made her fall in love with him. The Jimenez family had been together for 18 years and married for the last 10.

“We were looking forward to many many more years together,” Amanda said.

Together, they opened their home to eight foreign exchange students during the last eight years. A close friend nominated them for a White House award for their volunteer work.

In August, they received the President’s Gold Volunteer Service Award in recognition of their volunteering more than 2,000 hours as host parents during the last year. Amanda said that was Jose’s biggest accomplishment thus far.

“For him, being a kid from the streets to being able to get a presidential award, like that’s something to be proud of,” she said.

Credit: Amanda Nash-Jimenez

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