Missing US Navy veteran and wife found buried in shallow grave on Texas beach, deaths ruled homicide

James Lawrence Butler III and Michelle Elaine Butler were reported missing on October 23 after friends and family lost contact with them


                            Missing US Navy veteran and wife found buried in shallow grave on Texas beach, deaths ruled homicide

The bodies of a New Hampshire couple who had gone missing have been found buried on a beach in Texas.

The remains were identified as belonging to James Lawrence Butler III and Michelle Elaine Butler who were reported missing on October 23 after friends and family lost contact with them, according to a statement by the Kleberg County Sheriff's Office obtained by KZTV.

In this Oct. 28, 2019 file photo, several state agencies conduct an investigation on a Padre Island, Texas beach in Kleberg County after human remains were found. Investigators say two bodies found buried at the South Texas beach have been identified as a missing New Hampshire couple (Courtney Sacco/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP, File)

The remains were found buried in the sand on October 27 on Padre Island beach in Corpus Christi, Texas, where the couple had gone camping. The Nueces County medical examiner's office ruled the couple's deaths as homicides but did not release information about the cause of death.

Butler, a 48-year-old U.S. Navy veteran, and his wife, Michelle, 46, had gone camping on October 15 and had not contacted anyone since October 16. Butler's sister told KZTV that the couple had been traveling around the country since June 2018 taking part-time jobs.

The couple from Rumney, New Hampshire had set up camp with their truck and RV trailer, which, according to the sheriff's office, are still missing. The woman's body was found in a shallow grave, and her husband's body was later discovered buried under hers.

"Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of the Butlers on the tragic loss of their loved ones," the sheriff's office said in the news release.

Kleberg County Sheriff Richard Kirkpatrick also said that the truck and trailer were last seen crossing the U.S.-Mexico border between October 20 and October 21 with an unidentified driver at the wheel.

According to CNN, investigators are currently working to identify any suspects and will release more information about the case on Monday, at a news conference.

If you have a news scoop or an interesting story for us, please reach out at (323) 421-7514