LULING, TX – It has been 365 days with no response for the family of missing Texas State University student Jason Landry.
“A year. I mean,” Jason’s father, Kent Landry, said. “On some level, time flies, but it also feels like the longest year of our lives. You know ?
Jason Landry was returning home to Missouri City from San Marcos for winter vacation last year when Captain Jeff Ferry with the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office think Jason crashed his car on a dirt road in Luling.
“And about 900 feet from the scene of the collision. He puts on his hat, backpack [cut] keep walking south and about 80 feet maybe 100 feet after that’s where he starts to undress and then and the clothes are found in a way you would you know if you walk and you strip…and that’s the last known location of Jason,” Ferry said.
A year later, Ferry believes Jason should have walked through the field barefoot and bare, possibly under the influence, and is still in the area. “I think it’s very likely that Jason expired there,” Ferry said. “And that the animals scavenged his remains.”
The rural floodplain has been searched more than half a dozen times by researchers, wearing GPS trackers and using drones, to comb through thousands of bones identifying points of interest. Now the focus is on wild pigs.
Ferry is trying to set up a study with the Forensic Anthropology Research Center, an outdoor human decomposition facility in the state of Texas.
Ferry’s questions aren’t limited to feral hogs, as cadaver dogs had alerted to a body of water early in the search, and the area is dotted with oil tanks.
“And there’s really no good way for us to research those that we would have to empty every single one of them and that could take years,” Ferry said. “So I’m not, we’re not done looking. I still think he’s out there. We just missed him.”
Retired FBI agent Abel Pena disagrees. Pena runs Project Absentia, a nonprofit that helps locate missing people, and he thinks something more nefarious has happened. “We went back and looked at some of the early data and talked to some of the early witnesses and found anomalies,” Pena said.
Landry’s case has also drawn attention from outside of Texas. Jennifer Young, a mother from Kansas, says she has been following Jason’s case for a year and has started a petition for a geofencing warrant, which would help investigators better identify who was in the area when Jason went missing.
As of Monday, more than 12,000 people had signed the petition, but Ferry says it’s not something his office can get because there has to be evidence of a crime for a judge to approve.
With conflicting theories from investigators, the Landry family hopes Jason won’t be left behind in the stalemate.
Anyone with information on Jason Landry’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office at 512-398-6777. Project Absentia has also set up a hotline at 726-777-1259.
WHO IS JASON LANDRY?
Investigators believe the 21-year-old planned to drive home from his apartment in San Marcos to Missouri City, a suburb of Houston. A timeline from the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office tracks Landry’s movements from the time he left his apartment in San Marcos to the time his phone stopped ringing in Luling.
The schedule provided by the CCSO is as follows:
- December 13, 2020, 10:55 p.m.: Landry leaves his apartment in San Marcos, heading for Missouri City
- December 13, 2020, 11:05 p.m.: Landry drives on Interstate 80 and goes under I-35 in San Marcos
- December 13, 2020, 11:07 p.m.: Landry enters Caldwell County on Highway 80, heading south
- December 13, 2020, 11:11 p.m.: Entrance of Landry Martindale, still heading south on Highway 80
- December 13, 2020, 11:15 p.m.: Landry passes over SH 130 on Highway 80
- December 13, 2020, 11:17 p.m. to 11:21 p.m.: Landry passes through Fentress, Prairie Lea and Stairtown
- December 13, 2020, 11:24 p.m.: Landry enters Luling on Highway 80.
The CCSO says that when Landry crossed the Hackberry Street intersection where Highway 80 becomes Austin Street, he stopped using the Waze app and started using Snapchat.
Landry then continued on Austin St. to the intersection with US 183, also known as Magnolia Avenue, and CCSO says investigators believe he continued straight through that intersection, continuing on E. Austin, but at this intersection his digital footprint stops. Landry then continued on E. Austin to Spruce Street, which turns into Salt Flat Road.
A volunteer firefighter found Jason Landry’s car wrecked and abandoned on the 2300 block around 12:30 a.m. Dec. 14, the CCSO says. The vehicle’s lights were still on. A highway patrolman had Jason’s car towed away. He took his backpack, which contained a few joints, and left.
Hours later, Jason Landry’s father, Kent Landry, found his way to Salt Flat Road. He expected to see flashing police lights and his son. Instead, the road was dark and empty. “I saw deer, three different sets of deer go by. Coyotes went by and I didn’t see another car, another person.”
The clothes Jason Landry was wearing, his shoes, even his underwear, were strewn across the street. “I’ve found [my son’s] fish. I found where the accident happened and I’m the only one who took photos or videos,” he said.
Kent Landry was able to locate his son’s vehicle at a car pound. His cell phone was still in the car. No one was looking for him. Kent Landry added: “[the accident scene is] in the middle of nowhere. In this time window, it’s very possible that there won’t be anyone else in this box other than Jason and whoever did what they did. Who else is involved in this case.”
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