New details have been released in the mysterious disappearance of Jason Landry, the 21-year-old Texas State student who has been missing since December 13, 2020.
Jason had just finished up his first semester at the university in San Marcos, Texas where he had been working toward being accepted into their prestigious Sound Recording Technology program.
It was around 10:55 p.m. on December 13 when Jason left his apartment in San Marcos and began the 2-3 hour drive to his parents’ home in Missouri City, Texas for Christmas break. Jason never made it home.
Just after midnight on December 14, a volunteer fireman passing by discovered Jason's wrecked car abandoned on Salt Flat Road in Luling, Texas. The lights were still on, the keys were in the ignition and the front passenger side door was locked. But there was no sign of Jason.
Kent Landry got the call from a state trooper at 2 a.m. that his son had been in a single-vehicle crash on the dark country road. But the bad news didn’t end there.
“It’s a call that every parent fears,” Kent Landry told Dateline. “It’s our worst nightmare. To know that our son is out there hurting and we can’t fix it. But not knowing where he is or if he’s OK - it’s confusing and heartbreaking.”
Nearly two months later, investigators with the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office have released new information, after gaining access to Jason’s phone and computer. The data has been compiled into the following timeline:
Dec. 13, 10:55 p.m. - Jason leaves his apartment in San Marcos with the intent to drive to his parents' home in Missouri City, Texas.
Dec. 13, 11:05 p.m. - Jason drives his vehicle on Highway 80 and passes under I-35 in San Marcos.
Dec. 13, 11:07 p.m. - Jason continues to drive south on Highway 80 entering Caldwell County.
Dec. 13, 11:11 p.m. - Jason is in Martindale, Texas, continuing south on Highway 80.
Dec. 13, 11:15 p.m. - Jason passes over SH130 on Highway. 80.
Dec.13, 11:24 p.m. - Jason enters Luling, Texas on Highway 80. He stops using the Waze app and opens Snapchat. He passes through the intersection of Magnolia Avenue and East Austin Street, and that’s where Jason’s digital footprint stops. It’s believed he continued on East Austin to Spruce Street, which turns into Salt Flat Road.
At 12:31 a.m., Jason's wrecked vehicle is found on Salt Flat Road. Investigators say it was a single-vehicle collision, most likely from over-correcting on the gravel road, spinning off the roadway and crashing the rear-end into a tree.
But it’s the approximate 67-minute window between Jason’s last digital footprint and the discovery of the crash scene that investigators are focusing on. Investigators say Jason’s phone, which was found between the driver’s seat and center console, was on and had a signal, so they are still trying to figure out why it appears unused since the intersection at Magnolia Avenue.
“There are 67 minutes where we just don't know what happened,” Jason’s father told Dateline. “Was someone chasing him? Maybe. Did he just wreck and get out to find help? We don’t know. Anything is a possibility.”
Troopers who responded to the crash scene found Jason’s backpack, ball cap, toiletries and a tumbler with his dead betta fish in it on the road about 900 feet away. They say the backpack contained a small amount of marijuana, a laptop and gaming equipment.
“Any report stating that the backpack was ‘filled’ with narcotics is inaccurate. The small amount of marijuana has been seized and is being held,” the sheriff’s office stated in the press release.
Jason’s father arrived at the scene just a few hours later to find some of his son’s clothes, including a shirt, shorts, underwear, and a wristwatch, scattered on the roadway about 900 feet from the crash scene.
The new evidence released over the weekend includes a photo of Jason on the night he went missing. He appeared to be in good spirits and he was wearing the same shirt that was found with the pile of clothes recovered by his father during the search. Caldwell County Sheriff’s investigators also released new photos of Jason’s wrecked car.
The car was processed for any DNA or blood evidence, according to the release, but no evidence of blood was found inside the car, and there’s no evidence that Jason was heading to meet with someone in the Luling area.
The sheriff’s office said Jason’s family have been cooperative and helpful in the investigation. The sheriff’s office clarified that they are not suspects or persons of interest in the case and, as of right now, there is no evidence an unknown person of interest was involved in the incident.
Hundreds of hours of security videos from in and around Luling were also reviewed, but none has offered up any evidence, according to the release. The sheriff’s office is continuing to ask for the public’s help in the case and to provide any details that may help the investigation.
“You never know what piece of information will lead us to him,” Jason’s father told Dateline. “I stay awake every night trying to make sense of where he could be or what could have happened. But I can’t. We need everyone's help.”
Kent, who is a pastor at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Missouri City said thousands of people are praying for Jason as they continue to try and figure out what happened to him.
“It’s been 50 days today that he’s been missing,” Kent said. “We just want what any parent would in this situation - we want answers and want our son home safe.”
Jason is described as being 6’1” tall and weighing 170 lbs. He has brown hair, brown eyes, and facial hair.
Anyone with information about Jason’s disappearance can call the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office at 512-398-6777 or any of the following investigators: Detective Ferry with the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, 512-398-6777 Ext. 4516 or by email: Jeff.Ferry@co.caldwell.tx.us; Investigator Abel Pena, with PM Investigations by phone: (210) 954-1476 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Investigator Tuleta Copeland, with Leverage Investigations at Justice@LeverageInvestigations.com.