A man who bears a resemblance to missing Texas State University student Jason Landry, and who was found unconscious and unresponsive in New York last week, is not Landry, New York authorities confirmed Wednesday.
The man, who has not been publicly named, was identified as someone from Yonkers, a suburb north of New York City. His family has been notified.
Photos of the man circulated on social media Tuesday night and Wednesday, leading to speculation that the man could have been Landry.
Authorities said the man was not carrying identification, and was found near University Avenue and Reservoir Avenue in the Bronx on July 22. He did not have any apparent injuries and is being treated at a nearby New York hospital.
Landry has been missing since Dec. 13, 2020, after his vehicle was found crashed into a tree and barbed wire fence on a gravel road near Luling. He was believed to be driving from San Marcos to his parents’ home in the Houston suburb of Missouri City.
His backpack with some of his belongings, his cellphone and the clothes that police think Landry was wearing that night were found near the crash scene. But Landry has not been seen for more than a year.
Previous coverage:“We can’t grieve.” Father of Jason Landry on a year without his son
Kent Landry, Jason’s dad, told the American-Statesman that the detectives at the Texas attorney general’s office’s Cold Case and Missing Person’s Unit, which was created in March 2021, transferred all of Jason’s identification information to the New York Police Department.
New York investigators went to the hospital Wednesday to work on identifying the unconscious man through fingerprints.
In December, a badly decomposed body was found in the Guadalupe River, which many speculated could have been Jason Landry. But that body was identified as 16-year-old Benjamin “Tank” Loera from Vanderbilt, near Victoria, who had also been reported missing.
Timeline: What we know about missing Texas State student Jason Landry
Kent Landry said Jason has a few scars from past surgeries that could help with identification.
“This whole thing has its ups and downs,” Kent Landry said early Wednesday, when he had hopes that the man in New York was Jason. “We don’t know if it’s him, but I can say this feels a bit different because the picture does look a lot like him.”
In a Facebook post on Wednesday afternoon, Kent Landry expressed sadness about not finding his son, but offered prayers for the family of the man who was found.
“Please pray that he recovers and is restored to his family,” Landry said in a Facebook post. “Our wait continues.”
What we know about Jason Landry
Landry, who was 21 years old at the time of his disappearance, was studying sound recording technology and engineering at Texas State University in San Marcos to become a professional music producer. He was in his first semester at the university.
Authorities are still unclear about what happened to Landry.
Over the last year and a half, more than a dozen searches have taken place, but no evidence has turned up.
Caldwell County authorities continue to investigate the case, but they have said they do not believe a crime occurred.
Police have speculated that Landry might have been driving under the influence and walked away from his car after the crash, and then succumbed to natural dangers such as the cold or wildlife.
Dec. 13, 2020, was a cold evening, with temperatures dropping to near freezing, leading to suspicions of hypothermia. Investigators previously told the Statesman that Landry might have removed his clothes because he was suffering from hypothermia.
In cases of severe hypothermia, as the body fights to survive, people can become disoriented and experience a hot flash that makes them feel as if they’re burning up, so they remove their clothes, researchers have said.
In such instances, people then tend to burrow into the ground or small spaces in a last attempt to stay warm.
“The problem is we believe Landry was naked, and so what we are looking for (now) is bone,” Caldwell County Sheriff Capt. Jeff Ferry said last December. “My opinion is that some kind of wildlife got to him. And with all the critters out there, and with how long the body has been exposed, it’s made it a little hard to find him. But it could help explain why we still have not found a body.”
However, private investigators with San Antonio-based nonprofit Project Absentis, which is offering services to the Landry family pro bono, believe otherwise. A number of tips from the community show a pattern that has led the group to think other people are involved in Landry’s disappearance.
Absentis founder and private investigator Abel Peña, an Air Force veteran and retired FBI agent, told the Statesman in December that some red flags stood out to him, including Jason’s clothes being strewn in the road and the position of his vehicle.
“That is where we professionally disagree with each other,” Peña said. “I think they feel Jason got into a single-car wreck, walked off and disappeared. But we feel very strongly that he may have gotten into the accident, but that there were others around the vicinity, and they extracted him and took him somewhere else.”
Attempts to reach law enforcement authorities and the Texas attorney general’s office for an update on the case were unsuccessful.