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Homicide investigation underway after remains found at Texas beach identified as missing couple

Posted at 8:15 PM, Nov 01, 2019

KLEBERG COUNTY, Texas – Remains found at a Texas beach have been positively identified as those of a missing couple from New Hampshire.

Family tells KZTV that they last heard from James and Michelle Butler on Oct. 16. The couple was last known to have set up their truck and RV trailer in the area of Beach Marker 263 on Padre Island, south of Bob Hall Pier.

A missing persons report was filed for the Butlers on Oct. 23.

On Oct. 27, a Kleberg County deputy found the human remains in the area of Beach Marker 263 on Padre Island. The remains were in a shallow grave, the Caller Times reports .

An autopsy was completed by the Nueces Medical Examiner and confirmed they were the Butlers. The cause of death has been ruled as homicide.

Officers say they’re working on identifying persons of interest and attempting to find the whereabouts of the victims' truck and RV trailer.

Sheriff Richard Kirkpatrick said the truck and trailer were last seen crossing the U.S./Mexico border between Oct. 20 and Oct. 21. The occupants were not the Butlers, Kirkpatrick said.

The couple leaves behind five grown kids.

Deborah van Loon, James Butler's sister, says she’s grateful for all who prayed for the family. She said the news of the couple’s death is tough and that Saturday will be one of the hardest days of her life. That’s when James would have turned 49 years old.

This story was originally published by Crystal Dominguez at KZTV.