Found Deceased TX - James, 48 & Michelle Butler, 46, driving RV to Fort Lauderdale from Corpus Christi, 14 Oct 2019

Discussion in 'Located Persons Discussion' started by GuyfromCanada, Oct 25, 2019.

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  1. not.a.muggle

    not.a.muggle Well-Known Member

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    So the area they were in is not at all remote. Sure, it's not as busy as an RV lot, but it's the section of beach before Padre Island National Seashore (PINS), which charges a lot more than the $12 beach permit needed most other places. People are on it 24/7, driving up and down, fishing, camping. An RV and truck in that spot is not unusual, nor would it draw attention even if it appeared deserted for a day or two. People leave their stuff and move around on the beach. A lot of people bring golf carts and take those up and down the beach. That said, this time of year, there would be plenty of time to murder someone and move bodies without anyone seeing. Since it borders a National Park, there are restrictions on lighting, it's essentially pitch black at night and it's the off-season.

    I don't think the perps were too concerned with the bodies being found anyway. They probably knew they would be long gone. They were in a shallow grave, which I assume means they were thrown behind the dunes and covered with some sand. Based on the pictures of the crime scene and info from my LE ranger friend, they were just over the top of the foredunes where everyone goes to pee, not back behind the big dunes where they would have been better hidden. There are tons of coyotes and badgers there that would have had access to the remains.

    Once you cross into PINS and pass the 0 mile marker, you're essentially on your own and that's where I would anticipate crime. The LE rangers patrol some distance, but not far unless there is a reason to. There's no cell service down there; there is cell service where M and J were parked. If someone was trying to lure them from the RV lot to the beach, they didn't send them to a great place to get away with it, obviously. If they had sent them south of the 0, it probably would have been a long time before anyone noticed. Especially this time of year. From May into September, there are turtle patrollers covering every inch of beach from Bob Hall Pier to the Mansfield Channel (~MM 60, very remote).

    Pictures of North Beach in June and screen shot of the RV lot at the Pier. North Beach is the stretch where they were camping.
     

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  2. Auntie Cipation

    Auntie Cipation Context Matters.

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    I keep thinking about the ID needed when crossing the border, and how the driver's real ID wouldn't match the name on the truck & RV registration.

    Unless the driver was using James' ID, in which case the photo wouldn't match.

    Maybe the reason for not going to the nearest crossing was to go somewhere to get James' ID altered to include the driver's photo first?
     
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  3. zecats

    zecats Well-Known Member

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    If anyone even asked for ID and papers in the middle of the night crossing INTO Mexico. Sounds like people familiar with the area think it's not always the case.

    And in reality, a person's drivers license doesn't have to match the vehicle registration. Any licensed driver can borrow another's vehicle and camper.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
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  4. Herat

    Herat Well-Known Member

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    And another reason to believe the perps had good knowledge of border crossings and chose Del Rio for that reason
     
  5. CrimeDawg123

    CrimeDawg123 Well-Known Member

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    IMO the only place they could "rough it" between PI and Del Rio is on private property. Texas is virtually all private property and ranchers generally are not keen to have someone boondock on their property unvited. As in they'd likely be confronted with an angry owner with a gun. This is why I suspect they were holed up on private property known to them. If I had to venture a guess, I'd be guessing cartel activity. Unfortunately Mexican drug gangs work on both sides of the border. IMO.
     
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  6. zecats

    zecats Well-Known Member

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    Seems they took the truck and left the RV, perhaps for a few days. Or else they were back and forth from where the RV was camped and never stole it until after Oct 19th when it was last seen on beach (without the truck). If they took it on the 20th and crossed at Del Rio between 10/20-10/21, that's not really too much time in between.

    The question where was the truck from 10/16(17) until 10/19(20)?
     
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  7. otto

    otto Verified Expert

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  8. zecats

    zecats Well-Known Member

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    Not necessarily. They both may have been killed and then carried behind the small dunes where the graves were found. He just happened to be the first one in, covered with some sand and then her. But who knows. It did seem to take a little bit of time to find James after finding Michelle, so he was not just lying right there under her.

    Note: I hate typing that! I hate what happened to these people!
     
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  9. otto

    otto Verified Expert

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    It seems so much more practical to put a gun on someone and demand that they walk to a specific location, or to lure them to a spot, than to kill them somewhere and drag the bodies to the dunes.

    For example, pre-dig the hole, tell the couple that there's some sort of amazing ecological experience in that area, walk to the hole together, shoot them, and cover them with sand.
     
  10. zecats

    zecats Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I really didn’t want to picture that at all though. Chills me to the bone.
     
  11. otto

    otto Verified Expert

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    From my understanding of this, I think the suspect must be someone that they knew in the few days prior to their murders. I wonder if there's CCTV footage from the RV park where they stayed for 2 weeks. Now that the bodies have been found, I hope police can trace their movements between the RV park and the bodies and identify anyone else who was in the same area between Oct 14 and Oct 16.

    Is it true that there's only one way for vehicles to access North Padre beach, and that is through Padre Balli Park?

    upload_2019-11-3_12-6-56.png
     
  12. zecats

    zecats Well-Known Member

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    Plus they have an image of whoever was driving the truck when it crossed the border. That could be helpful if is someone they met previously. Someone may recognize him.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
  13. CrimeDawg123

    CrimeDawg123 Well-Known Member

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    @otto, I really appreciate your maps and thoughtful discussions you are adding to this thread. Thank you!
     
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  14. zecats

    zecats Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. @otto is the king of mapmaking.
     
  15. Mojito

    Mojito Active Member

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    Padre Balli Beach rv site is not reachable online (site is down at the moment) but I can see it has laundry facilities and showers/bathrooms. Some rv parks I've stayed at have these facilities and outsiders use them. Perhaps an outsider ran across Jim and Michelle that way and suggested the free beach camping.

    With Jim being ex-military I would expect him to be skilled at protecting himself and Michelle so they must have felt safe enough on the free beach to stay there.

    If nothing else, I and others have learned a lesson about rv'ing and boondocking. "Proceed with lots of caution , eyes open, and leave if it feels the least bit wrong".
     
  16. Mojito

    Mojito Active Member

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    Good question....anybody local know?
     
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  17. Herat

    Herat Well-Known Member

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    I'd also like to thank not.a.muggle for the really insightful posts about this area and the discussion about the National Park borders and ranger patrols.
    I'd also thank not.a.muggle for these really insightful posts about this specific area and the relationship of the RV lot, the pier, and the PINS.

    I'm a bit confused, though. Their trailer was parked south of the pier, correct? And yet it's called North Beach?

    And there is a paved road, Park Road 22 that goes from the area south into PINS. Can you drive along the beach into PINS? And where is milepost 0? Is it on Park Road 22?

    I guess I'm a little confused about how far south is safe and when it actually becomes the unpatrolled dangerous area.

    And thanks for the birding support. I'd love to get to PINS for birding, but this episode makes me a bit queasy and I'd certainly only go with an established group
     
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  18. Herat

    Herat Well-Known Member

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    If the border crossing is from US TO Mexico, I wonder if there are images that are good enough to use for facial identification. In the reverse direction, sure. But I worry that at night, going the other way, all it would take would be a hat/hoodie or a shave and the perp driving would not be identifiable.

    Also, all visualizations of anyone else that crossed over there in the prior or post 24 hours would be scrutinized heavily.

    Are there any other stops along the way that have license plate readers or stoplight camera photos? Maybe in the CC area?
     
  19. CrimeDawg123

    CrimeDawg123 Well-Known Member

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    Has LE confirmed they crossed into Mexico? And have they confirmed they crossed in at the Del Rio crossing? I know the family has shared this info, just wondering if LE has confirmed and if they have shared photos or the video and said exactly the route and time of crossing. If they have not, why not?
     
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  20. zecats

    zecats Well-Known Member

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    James & Michelle Butler: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know | Heavy.com
    BBM
    DLL, James Butler’s sister, posted on Facebook that the Butlers’ truck and trailer were seen crossing the border into Mexico. She said that Kleberg County has the footage and told her that the person driving the truck was not James Butler.

    The surveillance footage has not been released publicly, and details about which checkpoint the video was seen at have also not been released. The Kleberg County Sheriff’s Department has not answered Heavy’s questions about the case nor answered questions about where the surveillance footage was taken.

    WMUR reported that investigators confirmed the Chevy Silverado and Cedar Creek Camper were seen on surveillance footage crossing a border checkpoint into Mexico between October 20-October 21. The missing persons report was filed on October 23.
     
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