What We Know
In the cold days of December 2020, Texas State student Jason Landry was heading home to Missouri City, Texas, for Christmas. He’d just wrapped up his first semester and was excited to reunite with his family. His home was in Missouri City, but he lived in a San Marcos apartment near the intersection of Magnolia and Austin Street. Little did he know that this trip would turn his world upside down.
A Trail of Clues
Just after midnight on December 14, things took a strange turn. Jason’s Nissan Altima was found crashed and deserted on a remote dirt road in the 2300 block of Salt Flat Road, near Luling, Texas. This was a 30-minute drive from his university.
A firefighter named Abel Pena came across an unusual scene on a lonely stretch of Salt Flat Road near Luling. An abandoned car on a desolate road – but no driver. The car, a damaged Nissan Altima, belonged to Jason. The car was discovered with the lights still on, keys in the ignition, and the passenger door locked.
Inside Jason’s car, the story started to get weirder. There was a small amount of marijuana and Jason’s personal stuff scattered about. A backpack was found nearby, filled with Jason’s ball cap, wallet, and even more weed. A few blood traces were found, suggesting Jason might have gotten hurt but not severely. Despite these clues, there was no actual sign of Jason anywhere.
Jason’s father came to the crash site and stumbled upon Jason’s clothes on the road, roughly 900 feet from where the car crash was. Investigators think Jason was wearing these clothes at the time of the crash. They didn’t find any clues that suggested the clothes had been forcefully taken off.
Near the crash scene, the cops found Jason’s backpack, some of his toiletries, and a tumbler. His dead pet beta fish was dead in that tumbler. This spot was a bit further north from where his dad discovered his clothes.
With no sign of Jason at the crash site, the Texas Highway Patrol and the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office started an investigation.
Jason’s parents, Kent Landry and Lisa Landry, were desperate for answers. They reached out to multiple law enforcement agencies, started a Facebook page to share information and raise funds, and even hired private investigators. The Landry family put every possible resource to use, including an independent phone expert.
Digital technology became a focal point in the search for Jason. The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, the Texas State Troopers, and the FBI examined locational data and digital information from Jason’s electronic devices. They even used a geofence search warrant to access data from nearby cell phone towers.
Based on cell phone data, the police have pieced together a likely timeline. At 11:24 pm, Jason drove into Luling on Highway 80 (which turns into Austin Street), passing the Hackberry Street intersection. Then, he stopped using his navigation app and opened Snapchat.
The police think he kept driving on East Austin Street till he reached Spruce Street, which leads onto Salt Flat Road. When he reached the crossroads of US Highway 183 or Magnolia Avenue, Jason’s digital tracks went cold. His phone was still switched on, but he didn’t seem to use it after he hit the area around Magnolia Avenue and Austin Street.
Soon after passing the Magnolia intersection, he crashed his car. At 12:31 am on December 14, his car was found smashed and deserted in the 2300 block of Salt Flat Road. The cops are still trying to figure out what went down in the hour gap between when Jason’s digital trace ended and when his car was found.
They scoured his car for any DNA or blood clues, but found no blood inside. A single blood spot was found on his clothes, but it wasn’t enough to suggest a serious injury.
Cops also found a photo of Jason taken the night he disappeared. He seemed happy and was wearing the same red shirt that was found at the crash scene later.
As the mystery of Jason’s disappearance passed the one-year mark, law enforcement remained puzzled. They brought in Texas Railroad Commission Investigators to use forward-looking infrared technology in their searches. Funds raised were used to revisit the accident reconstruction, scan local reservoirs, and recheck the crash scene. But the leads turned up cold, leaving the case open and unanswered.
Despite all this work and the steadfast determination of both law enforcement and Jason’s family, no suspects have emerged. The money raised has been used for various leads like a deep dive into the accident’s details by a former Texas State Trooper, and even scanning the Jerome Park Reservoir and surrounding avenues. They’ve also revisited the crash scene, leaving no stone unturned.
The search for Jason is still ongoing, and the mystery surrounding his disappearance continues to baffle everyone involved. Jason’s family, backed by unwavering support from multiple agencies, continues to hope that fresh leads will pop up and shine some light on what really happened that night. After all, as they say, the truth is out there, and we all hope it’ll come out sooner rather than later.