CALDWELL COUNTY, Texas — Investigators in Caldwell County released a substantial amount of evidence Friday from their investigation into the disappearance of Texas State University student Jason Landry.
Landry, 21, went missing on December 13, 2020, while heading home to Missouri City from San Marcos for winter break.
The case has generated an enormous amount of attention throughout the world, speculation and conspiracy theories, which is why investigators said they decided to share the bulk of what they have gathered.
After more than a year, they are still calling it a “mystery.”
“I’ve just come up on a vehicle that’s in a ditch and it appears that he hit a fence,” a volunteer firefighter, who happened to spot the wrecked car late that night on a remote dirt road, tells the 911 dispatcher.
“Did you find the driver?” the dispatcher asks.
“I went up and down Salt Flat…,” the firefighter continues.
Body camera video shows when the state trooper arrives about an hour later.
“Yeah, I can see where he went sideways,” the trooper explains at the scene.
“Left the keys in there and it’s all locked up,” the trooper says as he tries to unlock the door of the wrecked car.
“Some of his underwear’s got blood on it – but I didn’t see anyone,” says the trooper as another Texas DPS trooper arrives to assist.
“Probably some college kid,” the trooper says to the firefighter. “Yep, that’s what I was thinking,” responds the firefighter.
The officer finds the backpack up the road from the wrecked car. Inside is a wallet, among other items, containing the driver’s license of Jason Landry.
“Mrs Landry, good morning…,” says the trooper on the phone as he makes the phone call no parent ever wants to get.
“We’re working on trying to locate him and I fear that he may be on some type of substance, reason being is because I did find some narcotics in his backpack,” the trooper says.
As Landry’s car was getting towed, his father was on his way to Luling from Houston.
The videos Pastor Kent Landry took as the sun was rising are included in the files released by the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office.
“This is his flip flops and this is his t-shirt,” Landry describes on the cell phone video as he walks over the scene.
We spoke with Kent Landry about the status of the investigation and the case details that were released.
“It seems to me that they’re saying, ‘well, this is just a stupid college kid who does stupid college kid stuff, like smoke marijuana,” Landry said. “So what? He doesn’t need to be found? We don’t need to work hard to find him? I don’t know, it doesn’t make sense to me.”
Included in the findings from the sheriff’s office are some of the videos, messages and Snapchats Jason Landry shared with his friends the night he disappeared.
They include images and talk of marijuana, as well as some personal dialogue.
“I know that the parents are not happy with us right now,” said Capt. Jeff Ferry, who is the lead investigator on the case.
“I don’t want to tear the kid down, you know, he smokes weed. It’s not the worst thing he could be doing,” Capt. Ferry said. “He’s a kid, a 21-year-old, he’s not a bad guy.”
Captain Ferry says the sheriff’s office determined it was important the public knows almost everything that investigators have found in the past year.
The investigator says the most private information they gathered has been withheld. Captain Ferry says it was difficult for the sheriff’s office to find the right balance between being transparent with what they gathered and not sharing information that would give the appearance of victim shaming.
“When we look at the totality of things it really paints a picture on almost an internal crisis that Jason is dealing with,” Capt. Ferry said. “So yeah, it absolutely is relevant in my opinion as an investigator.”
Captain Ferry says he has welcomed the various agencies and groups that continue to work on the case. He says he even shared the findings of the investigation with private investigators.
Theories of what happened to Jason Landry are all over the map.
However, Kent Landry says only one possibility was seriously considered.
“[Capt. Ferry] thinks absolutely there is no evidence other than Jason wandered off and we haven’t found a body,” Landry said. “Well after over a year, shouldn’t you at least consider other possibilities? And he simply hasn’t.”
Landry says the notion that another person may have been involved in Jason’s disappearance was never seriously vetted.
“We have to go in the direction the evidence takes us,” Capt. Ferry said. “Whether we like it or not. And in this instance, no doubt this is a tragedy… but it’s not a crime.”
An investigator from the Texas Attorney General’s Office will now be involved in the case after the state was contacted by Landry, he says.
Captain Ferry says he welcomes the help from the state and all other agencies that have assisted with the case.
“It’s important that people know what this is, and what it’s not,” Capt. Ferry says.
There's a $10,000 reward for information that helps investigators find Landry.