Advocates like Catherine Shellman, the founder of the Jason Landry Search Team says she was drawn to the case because her own daughter Tiffanie Perry was a Texas State student about to graduate when Shellman says she was shot to death by her ex-boyfriend in 2010 who then shot himself.
"I used to think that the worst thing that could happen to a parent is to have their child murdered. But after hearing about Jason's story, I thought of his parents and realized that it's not. The worst thing I can imagine is not knowing where your child is," Shellman says.
"We feel like as citizens, we want to do what we can to bring closure to the family. And so we can't give up. We don't want to give up. We will continue to look for Jason until Jason is found," Shellman adds.
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Shellman and a team of about 30 people, plus trained dogs, have been searching for Landry at least once a month. The most recent search happened last week.
They're also looking for a new spot to put up a billboard in the Luling area. There was one on 183 near downtown that was up for several months.
"We're looking for a citizen who might be willing to have the banner, or any banner, at their home where it might face a road, a street, Highway 80, anywhere that people would come and go from Luling," Shellman says.
Shellman adds that it's important to keep the information out in the public to make sure no one forgets about Landry. She says they won't stop until they find Landry and anyone who wants to join their team can contact her.
"We all know that the tragic thing of losing your child, not knowing where they are has got to be the worst experience for a parent. And so we are trying to bring closure to the Landry family by finding Jason, no matter what that takes," Shellman says.
A GoFundMe page for Jason Landry's search has helped raise additional funds to help the search and a reward in the case was able to be doubled in November.
What happened to Jason Landry?
In January 2022, the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office shared evidence in the case with FOX 7 Austin. For a more detailed timeline surrounding his disappearance, click here.
The Office of the Attorney General released a statement on the ongoing search for Landry the week marking the second anniversary of Landry's disappearance.
"This week marks the second anniversary of Jason Landry’s disappearance. Attorney General Paxton and the entire Office of the Attorney General (OAG) want to reaffirm their commitment to this active and ongoing investigation and assure the public that this case remains a top priority with the following information.
In February 2022, the Caldwell County District Attorney’s Office and the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office requested that the OAG Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit investigate the disappearance of Jason Landry, a student at Texas State University, last seen on December 13, 2020. Mr. Landry’s abandoned vehicle was discovered in the early morning hours of December 14, 2020, on a rural roadway just outside of Luling, Texas.
Since then, OAG’s Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit has conducted a thorough review of all previously known credible information, interviewed multiple witnesses, consulted with experts in digital forensics and accident reconstruction, and obtained a geofence search warrant near the area where Mr. Landry’s vehicle was found. Based upon this extensive review and the evidence known at this point, the OAG supports the conclusions previously stated by the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office: Mr. Landry appears to have been involved in a single car accident and there is no evidence to suggest that another vehicle was involved. The search warrant yielded no activity near the crash site and did not provide any additional information.
Additionally, nothing has been found on Mr. Landry’s social media, cell phone, or other electronic devices to suggest that he knew or was planning to meet anyone in Luling, including the lack of credible information pertaining to the purchase or sale of narcotics. Through digital technology and forensics, Mr. Landry was tracked from his apartment in San Marcos to the intersection of Magnolia and Austin Street in Luling, Texas, where his phone last connected to the navigation application Waze at 11:26 p.m. on December 13, 2020.
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Additional data from cell phone towers shows that Mr. Landry likely continued straight on Austin Street instead of turning onto Magnolia Street to get to I-10. Mr. Landry traveled to around 2300 Salt Flat Road where he had a single car accident. OAG has turned over all locational data and cell phone data to an independent phone expert who is analyzing the data for any information that may have been missed by investigators or was otherwise not previously discovered.
During the initial stages of the investigation, multiple law enforcement agencies and search and rescue groups combed the area surrounding the location where Mr. Landry’s vehicle was found using line searches, dogs, drones, and Forward Looking InfraRed technology. Subsequent searches of the area yielded no results. Additionally, at the request of OAG, Texas Railroad Commission investigators thoroughly searched oil tanks in the area and reviewed operational reports looking for any irregularities in the reservoir tanks and found nothing out of the ordinary.
The Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit considers this matter to be an ongoing and active investigation and continues to work diligently on the case. We encourage anyone who may have credible information to contact the Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org."
Timeline of Jason Landry's disappearance
A timeline from the sheriff's office tracks Landry's movements from when he left his apartment to when his phone ceased pinging in Luling. CCSO says that investigators gained access to most of Landry's phone and computer data.
The timeline of Landry's disappearance provided by the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office goes as follows:
- Dec.13, 10:55 p.m.: Landry leaves his apartment in San Marcos, headed to Missouri City
- Dec.13, 11:05 p.m.: Landry is driving on Hwy 80 and passes under I-35 in San Marcos
- Dec.13, 11:07 p.m.: Landry enters Caldwell County on Hwy 80, heading south
- Dec.13, 11:11 p.m.: Landry enters Martindale, still heading south on Hwy 80
- Dec.13, 11:15 p.m.: Landry passes over SH 130 on Hwy 80
- Dec.13, 11:17-11:21 p.m.: Landry passes through Fentress, Prairie Lea, and Stairtown
- Dec.13, 11:24 p.m.: Landry enters Luling on Hwy 80
CCSO says that as Landry went through the intersection at Hackberry Street where Hwy 80 becomes Austin Street, he stopped using the Waze app and began using Snapchat.
Landry then continued on Austin St. to the intersection with U.S. 183, also known as Magnolia Avenue, and CCSO says investigators believe he continued straight through that intersection, continuing onto E. Austin, but at this intersection, his digital footprint stops. Landry then continued on E. Austin onto Spruce Street, which turns into Salt Flat Road, where his car was found abandoned in the 2300 block around 12:30 a.m. on Dec. 14, says CCSO.
CCSO says investigators are now focused on the 67-minute window between Landry's last data footprint at Austin Street and Magnolia Avenue and the discovery of the crash scene on Salt Flat Road. Investigators are trying to determine why while Landry's phone had cell signal and was powered on, it doesn't appear to have been used since that intersection.
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CCSO says his car was found abandoned with the lights on and the keys in the ignition. The front passenger side door was locked as well. The crash has been determined to be a single-vehicle crash, most likely from overcorrecting on the gravel road and spinning off the road. The rear driver’s side corner hit a tree on the east side of the roadway, propelling the front driver’s side into another tree and barbed wire fence.
There is no evidence that any other vehicle or outside force was involved in the collision, according to CCSO, and investigators are confident that the contact with the trees and fence line was the only contact the vehicle sustained based on the evidence collected. The car's rear window was broken as a result of the impact with a tree.
CCSO says that neither the volunteer firefighter who found the vehicle or the trooper who responded to the scene entered the car. The car was then towed to an impound lot where Landry’s father, the registered owner of the vehicle, entered through the unlocked driver’s side door and found his son's cell phone between the driver’s seat and the center console.
CSO says that it is unknown if the phone fell as Landry was driving through the intersection of Austin St and Magnolia Ave. or during the crash. Landry’s father collected the phone and attempted to find the crash scene.
Approximately 900 feet from the crash scene, Landry’s father found and collected articles of his son's clothing (shirt, shorts, socks, underwear, slide sandals, and a wristwatch) in the road. Investigators then processed those clothes and found a single small blood smear, which CCSO says was not indicative of serious bodily injury and was possibly caused by Landry touching the barbed wire fence or foliage. No evidence of blood was found inside the car.
A review of the body and dash cameras from the trooper's initial response to the crash scene showed that approximately 900 feet from the crash scene, a backpack, a ball cap, a plastic bag of personal toiletries, and a tumbler with a deceased beta fish in it, all belonging to Landry, were found in the road, north of the clothing recovered by his father.
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The backpack contained his wallet, a usable amount of marijuana, a laptop computer, gaming equipment, and a few personal effects. CCSO says that any previous report stating that the backpack was "filled" with narcotics is inaccurate. The small amount of marijuana is being held with findings pending on whether it was combined with an unknown hallucinogenic substance.
CCSO says investigators believe the clothing found in the roadway was what he was wearing before the crash, but there is no indication that the clothing was removed under duress or threat. There was cold weather during the time Jason is believed to have gone missing, with the low temperature being recorded around 36 with a high of 43.
Landry's phone was released to DPS, who began efforts to access the device and its data. CCSO says that there is currently no evidence he was traveling to meet with or had communicated intent to meet with anyone in or around Luling.
CCSO says that this is believed to be an isolated incident with no threat to the community and that there is currently no evidence that an unknown person of interest is involved.