CALDWELL COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — More than one year since Texas State student Jason Landry disappeared, the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office is releasing new evidence in the case.
This caught the family off guard. According to Jason’s father, Kent Landry, they weren’t told anything was being released.
“I don’t know where some of that stuff came from,” Kent said. “We haven’t seen some of those videos.”
The family said they’ve been told the Texas Attorney General’s Office will be meeting with Caldwell County before the end of the month, and they’re hoping to get more answers and clarify after.
A call log, more than an hour of body camera footage from responding law enforcement, cell phone videos taken by Landry’s father and a screen-recorded FaceTime call with Jason are among the items newly released this week.
Jason’s abandoned car was found totaled Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020 near Luling. Evidence showed the 21-year-old was in a crash near 2365 Salt Flat Rd., and investigators believe he may have tried to overcorrect his turn on the gravel road, which led him to spin off the roadway.
An investigation has revealed he was on his way to the Missouri City, Texas area to visit his parents, but the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office said a volunteer firefighter in the area discovered his car and his belongings spread out across the road.
The only signs of Jason were his clothes on the road and a backpack with his personal things, along with some marijuana in a prescription bottle.
It’s clear in the videos, the night Jason went missing, his family was contacted right away.
The responding Texas Highway Patrol Trooper can be heard on his body camera footage saying to his mom that he was believed to be under the influence of something when the crash happened.
Kent feels some of the evidence released paints his son in a bad light.
“As a former lawyer, I’ve never seen law enforcement assassinate the character of a victim,” he said. “Because that’s what Jason is whether or not you know, he smoked pot or not or whatever.”
Former Texas State police chief, now a lecturer at the university, Howard Williams, said releasing evidence in bulk like this usually happens for a couple of reasons.
“There comes a time in investigations where you’ve done everything you think to chase certain leads you can find, you can’t develop more leads,” Williams said. “At that point, oftentimes, you consider going ahead and releasing evidence to the public in the hopes that someone might see what you’ve released and come and tell you that, ‘Oh, I know a little something about this.'”
Now that investigators have gained access to most of Jason’s phone and computer data, they’re revealing more about the moments leading up to his disappearance.
That call log shows FaceTime and voice calls Jason made before and calls he received after his disappearance. Also in the evidence package released by the sheriff’s office are cell phone videos Jason’s father took when he visited the scene of where his son’s car was found.
The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office said it’s expecting to meet with Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office in the coming weeks to request assistance with the case.
“We are hopeful that the Texas Attorney General’s Office newly-formed missing persons unit agrees to take this case on,” said an email from the sheriff’s office sent to media.
AG Paxton announced the formation of the unit in October 2021.
Since that night, Jason’s parents have held out hope to find their son. Now they hope that if and when the AG’s office gets involved, they get clearer answers about where Jason might be.
“We would just like a new set of eyes to look at what happened,” Kent said.
KXAN reached out for more details about when the AG’s office will be meeting with Caldwell County and haven’t heard back yet. We also reached out to Caldwell County for clarification on some of the evidence released, and how it plans to work with Jason’s family moving forward and are also still waiting on a response.