Las Cruces, N.M., police have determined a body found in a canal near Calle de Alegra last week is a University of Wisconsin student.

Police identified the body as Michael J. Mowers, 22, after matching Mowers' fingerprints to a national database, according to a release.

The body was found just before 4:30 p.m., Nov. 21, after a passerby noticed what appeared to be a body in a canal in the southern part of the city. Police discovered the body partially burned at the edge of a concrete culvert leading to the canal, according to a Nov. 21 release.

UW spokesperson John Lucas told the Las Cruces Sun-News Mowers was pursuing a bachelor's degree in the College of Letters and Science. He had been a student at UW for a total of three semesters starting in fall 2003, but had no declared major.

Mowers was classified as a sophomore and listed a Madison address, Lucas told the paper, although his hometown was not available.

It is still unknown why Mowers was in New Mexico.

Mower's cause of death has not yet been determined, as detectives are waiting for results from the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator in Albuquerque. Police told the Sun-News they cannot say if foul play was involved until the medical investigator determines cause of death.

University Communications did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Thursday evening.

– Pedro Oliveira Jr.