It’s been more than a year since Texas State student Jason Landry went missing after his vehicle was found wrecked on Salt Flat Road in Luling, Texas.
Jason was driving home to Missouri City for the holiday season on Dec. 13, 2020, when his car was involved in a single-vehicle collision. Shortly after midnight, a volunteer firefighter found the car with its headlights on and the keys in the ignition. While Jason’s car was inoperable, law enforcement believes Jason survived the crash.
Even after eight intense searches spanning more than 80 miles in the vicinity of the accident, the Texas State student has yet to be found. As the search for Jason continues, his father, Kent, remains hopeful that he will find his son one day.
“We’re just trying to be patient and hope you know, with the anniversary of his disappearance…that maybe someone somewhere knows something, or something is going on that we can get some closure and get some answers” he said.
Capt. Jeff Ferry of the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office is the lead investigator in the case. Ferry worked alongside the State of Texas and Texas A&M University to uncover additional evidence regarding Jason’s disappearance.
Together they took thousands of drone photos, used heatmaps and searched for anomalies in the area, including bits of tissue that might be connected to Jason and any signs of bones at or near the site.
Despite their efforts, Ferry and authorities have yet to find any lasting evidence regarding Jason’s disappearance.
“We’re still working. It’s a very open file and we’re not getting the results we want,” Ferry said.
Texas State Chair in Criminology Kim Rossmo implemented a Geographic Information System (GIS) scan of areas where Jason could potentially be found. The system creates a probability map of where Jason is most likely to be in a specific area.
“What we did was a GIS analysis where we looked at places that had already been excavated and put [the locations] in a GIS system,” Rossmo said. “Then, based on what we knew about the case and the locations that have already been excavated, [we] I tried to find an optimal probability map showing the best remaining places to search.”
A private investigation team hired by Jason’s parents believe he was not alone the night he disappeared. The team fights to get a geofencing warrant that will reveal if any cellphones were nearby at the time of his disappearance. Geofencing captures cellphone data from the area and would help find additional leads on the case by identifying any suspects or potential witnesses near the scene.
A petition with over 15,000 signatures was created in hopes that the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office would obtain a geofencing warrant.
Abel Pena and Stu Gary are private detectives working pro bono for the Landry family. They support law enforcement’s efforts in the case, but believe that obtaining a geofencing warrant would expedite the investigation.
“[The warrant] would eliminate days if not months of investigation,” Gary said.
Pena and Gary work for Absent Project, a non-profit organization that assists and supports law enforcement in their investigation. The project sees itself as the bridge between the family of the disappeared and the officials who work diligently on cases like Jason’s.
Law enforcement is hesitant to get a geofencing warrant due to privacy concerns of people in the area and the fact that a crime hasn’t actually taken place. Without crime, the fourth amendment concerns prevent officials from obtaining a geofencing warrant.
“It’s just a matter of privacy for those in the area,” Pena said.
The warrant would be invaluable, Pena said, and the use of geolocation could see who, if anyone, was present at the time of Jason’s accident.
Online speculation regarding Jason’s whereabouts has circulated since his disappearance. Facebook discussion groups have openly theorized and examined the facts of the case. Kent said he didn’t know what to make of the mix of fact and fiction surrounding his son’s disappearance theories.
“I just don’t know. I wish I had known, but I really don’t,” Kent said. “I just heard so many things about so many different things. I don’t think it’s Bigfoot and I don’t think it’s aliens. Some of the theories are, especially for young adults, you know, running away home or something. It’s not Jason. He wouldn’t do that.
Voice for the voiceless, a non-profit organization working closely with Jason’s case, has been looking for the 21-year-old for several months. The newly founded organization is also working on other missing persons cases in the state of Texas.
The group works to raise awareness of various missing persons cases by creating Facebook groups to help spread the word. Voice for the Voiceless also works with True Crime Sisters, a missing persons search group, which initially led to her connection with Jason.
“Our group just wants to make sure this family gets justice and answers and what’s done in the dark will come to light,” said Voice for the Voiceless founder Whitney Sich. “It’s not going to end until we have answers for the family. So we’re going to keep talking about [Jason] and share his memory until we find answers for him.”
With the holiday season tied closely to Jason’s disappearance, Kent said it was a difficult time for him, his wife and children. He encourages the other families to appreciate the time spent together because that is what they will remember the most.
More than a year after Jason passed away, he is still remembered and honored by his family and community. Kent said his son is funny, quirky and a God-knowing person. Despite the emotional hardships he and his family have faced, Kent looks back with joy on the time he spent with his son.
“We’re grateful for all the memories we have,” Kent said.
Anyone with additional information regarding the disappearance of Jason Landry is asked to contact Captain Jeff Ferry at 512-398-6777 Ext. 4516 or investigator Abel Pena at 210 954-1476.
Anonymous advice can be sent to 726-777-1359.