Jason Landry, a 21-year-old Texas State student, didn’t make it home for the holidays on December 13, 2020. He was driving from San Marcos to Missouri City, Texas.
Off Salt Flats Road in Lulling, Texas, Jason’s car was found broken down and left behind. It was stuck against a tree on a barbed wire fence. The lights are on, the car is running, and the keys are in the ignition.
On the gravel road, Jason’s clothes and backpack were all over the place. But there is no proof of a theft because it looks like nothing of value was taken from the crash site. Since that cold night in Lulling, Texas, when Jason Landry was last seen, no one has seen or heard from him.
On December 14, 2022, the Office of the Texas Attorney General released a statement saying that its Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit had reviewed “all previously known credible information.” This included interviewing witnesses, consulting with digital forensics and accident reconstruction experts, and getting a geofence search warrant.
The OAG’s Office agrees with the Caldwell County police that Jason was in a one-car accident, and there is no evidence that another car was involved. The geofence search warrant turned up nothing near the crash site, and it was still said that “there is no evidence that a crime has been committed.”
But police are getting more and more criticism for how they handled this case and the crash scene. When officers got there, they were sure that a college student on drugs had crashed his car and then left the scene to avoid getting in trouble.
The police didn’t think that Jason could be in grave danger. People didn’t think about getting hurt badly or freezing in the cold if they wandered around naked.
Law enforcement didn’t secure and keep the crash site safe, and they didn’t get any evidence from the car or Jason’s clothes, like his DNA. The police did not act in a responsible way when they left Jason’s clothes on the gravel road. In other words, there was no investigation, and any possible evidence has been tampered with or destroyed, so it can’t be used.
The Crawford County Sheriff’s Department says that Jason’s GPS tracking, cell phone, and Waze trip progress go “dark” near the intersection of Magnolia Avenue and Austin Street in Lulling, Texas.
This is where all the theories start:
Jason may have tried to switch back to Waze from SnapChat but either ran out of battery or dropped his phone between the driver’s seat and center console near the intersection.
Jason goes the wrong way on Magnolia Avenue and ends up on Salt Flats Road, which is covered in gravel. At some point, Jason realizes he must be on the wrong road and tries hard to get to his phone so he can get back in touch with his directions. When he looks back at the road, he takes his eyes off it. He starts to go off the road, so he speeds up to get the car back to the right side of the gravel road. The car starts to slide out of control and hits the tree on the driver’s side rear quarter panel with a lot of force. Even though the tree and branch hit the back window hard and broke it, the airbags did not go off. The car gets stuck between the tree and the fence with barbed wire.
Jason is shaken up, but because he was wearing his seatbelt, he is not seriously hurt. Jason takes off his seatbelt and gets out of the car through the passenger door because he can’t open the door for the driver. Jason gets out of the car to look at what’s wrong. He walks around the back of the car and touches the barbed-wire fence, which pokes a small hole in his shorts.
When Jason looks at the damage, he realizes that he needs help to get his car out of the mud.
Jason gets his backpack and puts the beta fish in the tumbler. He may not have known that the water in the tumbler did not survive the crash, so he starts walking on the gravel road. Jason can’t call for help on his phone, so there’s no power left. He’s freezing, and the strong wind makes it feel like it’s below freezing outside. Jason was shivering and sweating. Hypothermia starts, and Jason starts to feel very hot. Jason starts to take off his clothes (paradoxical undressing theory). He may have learned from reading or watching survival shows that he will be warmer without his wet clothes.
Jason continues walking down the gravel road naked seeking help.
Here is the point when everything that follows becomes pure speculation:
Theory 1 Weakness:
There have been many searches done by people who are trained in search and rescue. They have used drones, canines, ATVs, helicopters, and walked on foot.
Jason was walking to get help when he saw a house’s lights. Jason walks up to the house, where he is met by a worried homeowner who thinks Jason is trespassing and might be trying to steal. Before the homeowner realizes that Jason is naked and not a threat, he shoots him. The owner of the house gets scared and hides Jason’s body.
Theory 2 Weakness:
Why didn’t the tracking dogs lead the searchers to a house or property where the owner wouldn’t let them in?
Supposedly, the cadaver dogs led them to the edge of a drainage pond where water and oil were running off. The pond was drained and looked through, but nothing was found.
On the dark gravel road, Jason is walking when a car hits him. When the driver gets out of the car, Jason is not moving or making any sounds. He gets scared, puts Jason’s dead body in the back of the truck, and drives away to find a place to throw the body away.
Theory 3 Weakness:
On the gravel road, there was no blood.
Jason is 170 pounds and 6 feet tall. It seems hard for one person to move his body into a truck bed.
Someone driving by sees Jason walking along the side of the road and stops to find out what happened. Jason gets in the vehicle believing the driver will take him to get help, but the individual has nefarious intentions. In the Lulling Area, there are a lot of people who have been charged with sexual offenses, and the number is usually high for the size of the area.
Theory 4 Weaknesses
The data from the geofence didn’t show that there was another car in the area.
There are other ideas about what happened to Jason, like that he planned to disappear. This seems unlikely, though, because he was going to spend the holidays with his parents in Missouri City. Why would Jason leave in this way and at this time if he wanted to go away?
Some people think Jason’s car was stolen, he got into a fight on the road, or he stumbled upon a drug deal and was taken away. There is no evidence against these ideas, so they are still possible.
Still, it seems strange that the clothes and backpack were all over the road after a crime.
Another idea is that wild pigs ate Jason, but that seems unlikely.
Investigators are still not sure what happened when Jason went missing. The reward for information has been raised to $20,000 by the Landry family. If you know anything, you can call the Texas Attorney General at (512) 936–0742 or call (726) 777–1359 to remain anonymous.