Investigators offer conflicting theories on missing student case

(NewsNation Now) — There are conflicting reports between a small-town sheriff’s department and a private investigator working on a missing person case in Texas.

Jason Landry, 21, was a student at Texas State University when he disappeared on his way home for the holidays in December of 2020.

Landry’s car had crashed on a gravel country road 30 minutes from his school. The key was still in the ignition and the headlights were still on but there was no sign of him.

While the sheriff’s department has assumed Landry was alone at the time of the crash, a private investigator wants to know if that is actually the case. He said technology can detect whether someone else was inside the car.

Abel Pena is a former FBI agent who is working the case pro-bono, along with the team at his nonprofit, Project Absentis. After extensive interviews, Pena believes Landry was not alone at the time he disappeared.

“We believe that there could have been a second or third party involved,” he said.

Pena said a “tower dump,” or a large-scale request of cellphone records, could greatly help his investigation.

“It provides a trove of information about the cellphones active in that particular area,” he said. “That’s where the mobile towers are at, that’s where they’re located. That information can be used to identify a given individual that was out there.”

Pena said he’s been unable to get those phone records because there has to be evidence of a crime, and without that evidence, they can’t get a search warrant. However, Pena is hopeful that he will be able to get one soon based on circumstantial evidence.

Anyone with information on the case is encouraged to call the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office at (512) 398-6777 or Abel Pena at (726) 777-1359.


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