Missing RVers found dead, ruled homicide

105

(November 2, 2019) — A New Hampshire couple boondocking on the beach on Padre Island, Texas, has been confirmed dead after being found in a shallow grave, the victims of a homicide. The decedents have been identified as James Lawrence Butler, 48, and his 46-year-old wife, Michelle Elaine Butler, of Rumney, New Hampshire.

The Butlers were reported missing on Oct. 23, 2019, after family and friends lost contact with them. They had been living in Rumney before departing in June 2018 in a truck towing a Cedar Creek travel trailer.

James Butler had retired after 21 years in the Navy. He had been an air traffic controller on the carrier USS Enterprise. He raised two children in Virginia, where the Enterprise was based at Naval Station Norfolk.

After James Butler left the Navy he built homes and worked as a manager at a Walmart. But he longed to travel again. He told his sister, “‘I’ve traveled the world with the Navy, but I’ve never seen my own country,'” said Deborah van Loon. Michelle Butler loved the idea, too. In 2018, they packed up their RV and headed south.

(Note: We were unable to get any biographical information on Michelle in time for this story).

Their bodies were discovered Sunday evening at Beach Marker 263 about 3 miles south of Bob Hall pier after a Kleberg County Deputy found what appeared to be human remains. “Their camper was literally parked right there,” said van Loon.

The Butlers were married in 2015 and spent much of last year in Arizona, living in an RV park in Mesa. “They had so much fun there,” said van Loon.

But they were itching to travel more. The Butlers started finding temporary work through websites with short-term job listings, aimed at RVers. They would find a job, and camp nearby in their trailer, van Loon said, traveling and making money. They traveled to Texas to work as gate guards on an oil rig.

In October, the Butlers left their jobs there and started toward their next job in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. They stopped in Corpus Christi and decided to stay a while, boondocking on the Padre Island beach where they could stay for free.

They had been there barely two weeks when Michelle Butler’s family tried to reach her for one of their regular video calls, but she did not pick up. The couple was reported missing on Oct. 23. Their bodies were found four days later.

Texas law enforcement are working to identify a person of interest. Authorities are trying to find the couple’s 2018 silver Chevrolet Silverado 3500 pickup truck, with New Hampshire license plate 3738968, and their white Cedar Creek trailer, according to Kleberg County Sheriff’s Office. Their truck and camper was seen entering Mexico on Oct. 21 by a surveillance camera, but the driver was not James or Michelle.

A vigil is planned for Saturday evening in Corpus Christi, TX, near where the couple’s bodies were found, and on Sunday at 6 p.m. in the Rumney Town Common.

If you have information that may help authorities locate the killer or the location of the truck or trailer, call the Kleberg County Sheriff’s Office at 361-595-8500.

SOURCES: News release from Kleberg County Sheriff’s Office, Corpus Christi Caller Times, New Hampshire Leader and Facebook.

Subscribe
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

105 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Patsy Perkins
11 months ago

I see a dog in the back seat of the truck? Did they have a dog when this happened? If so where’s is the dog? No mention of one in any articles that I have read. We travel with three Dalmatians, a dogs bark is a big deterrent for anyone wanting to enter an RV.
Update: The white guy that killed them was from Corpus Christi.

ron moore
11 months ago

so many racist comments, it must have been a Mexican that killed these folks, since people with white skin never commit murder

L Daniels
11 months ago

Folks, PLEASE don’t believe these YouTube “wannabe a star” fulltimers who glorify this lifestyle while totally ignoring the real dangers out there. The full-time life in NOT as safe as they would like you to believe.

TorchSilke
11 months ago

If you look at Maps and South Padre Island, not only does it look desolate but so gorgeous as well. Boondocks fits the description. However, “there was their camper right there” yet, it was seen attached to their silver pick up truck driving across the border? Maybe there was evidence left from their formerly parked space?
Why do you automatically blame “illegals?” There are many bars, eateries, stores. Maybe a resident met the couple while they were out for an evening, befriended them, committed the awful deed and knows going into Mexico will get rid of the evidence and walk back over the border. McAllen may be home to the murderer or murderers. Road 4 and 100 are thoroughfares to and from SPI and McAllen. I think police need to start with all the above, get any and all surveillance images to and from. I believe they will find those responsible. They say it wasn’t the couple driving. I presume they see who was. Coming back, there might be an image of the same person possibly wearing the same clothes.

Big stuff3
11 months ago
Reply to  TorchSilke

Pretty dam good chance if seen driving into Mexico sorry but percentage is good

Marie
11 months ago
Reply to  TorchSilke

Do you know if there is an update of the story somewhere?

Michael
11 months ago

This is why you need to be able to carry personal protection across state lines!

Uchu
11 months ago

“Entering Mexico…” Say no more. No hope of getting the miscreant to face justice. RIP.

Brenda Lee
11 months ago

Build that wall to stop this from happening! This is ridiculous to lose to decent humans out enjoying life in what’s supposed to be the greatest country on earth. We have to protect our borders from criminals aiming to hurt the innocent!

Big stuff3
11 months ago
Reply to  Brenda Lee

Wall ain’t gonna stop the shxt !

Trini
11 months ago
Reply to  Brenda Lee

The truck and trailer were “driven” across the border, the perpetrator did not try to sneak across with them….wall = not needed/useless. Do you have any idea how many Americans cross the border into Mexico each day? The person who did this was most likely white American since a Mexican passport would draw suspicion; unless you think the United States issues passports to illegals.

Sheridan
11 months ago
Reply to  Brenda Lee

Photo of the man driving the rig across the border shows a White male with female companion. This has Nothing to do with immigration or the pointless wall.
Think first – write later.

Craig Northey
11 months ago

Well, for those of you that think the Mexican border is safe and the drug cartels aren’t out here, this is proof. We need the wall down here so we know who is coming and going. This is not an isolated incident.

TheLobeWolf
11 months ago

What scum. That’s why I don’t like to trust stranger and hitchhikers or do favors for them much. Carry a gun and learn how to use it, always lock your doors, and be wary of any who approaches you.

JAMES R GRIEVES
11 months ago
Reply to  TheLobeWolf

and keep one chambered; valuable time can be lost racking a gun.

Mark Andreas Chandler
11 months ago

Get a gun take classes on gun use and safety…carry it at all times. I was staying in a parking in Long Beach CA, with permission from the owners for my daughters graduation. At 3 am I heard a vehicle pull up next to my motohome. I got up pulled my 45 from out, turned on the light, showed I was armed, the vehicle drove away. Be prepared for the lawless.

Billy Bob Thorton
11 months ago

Look, I understand your frustration but you can’t do what you are suggesting in this scenario. By your mentioning “taking classes” I will assume you mean a hand gun. There are severely restrictive laws moving hand guns between many states. So, they would be law breakers if they were to have followed your suggestion.
As a matter of fact the current anit-gun D`s are starting with long guns and then IMO will move on hand guns. Here is a better solution. Since we don’t know the facts here. Carry a legal long gun. If it were someone trying to force entry, state clearly you will defend yourself and then rack one in the chamber. That sound alone is the beginning of a deterrent. It’s a huge step to pull the trigger, so record the situation if at all possible, because the loved ones of the deceased will only say he was asking for directions.

Sharonah
11 months ago

Want directions? Go to a gas station.

Billy Bob Thorton
11 months ago
Reply to  Sharonah

Knock, knock, I’m coming in your RV to do what ever I want. Take property, money, threaten life and limb. Perpetrator does not heed verbal warning, and distinctive sound of round being racked into the chamber. Perpetrator suffers big disappoint, is never able to tell his side. Deceaseds` family files suit for negligent taking of “innocent” life. Aka, he was just a harmless individual looking for directions to the nearest “gas station”. The End.

Trini
11 months ago

Mr. Butler was in the Navy for 21 years…what makes you think he didn’t have a weapon with him?

Brandy Hastings
11 months ago

Ehh, it says the camper was “right there”.. then it says their looking for both the truck and camper? Which one is it? Ive camped solo out there so so many times. Definitely going to think twoce about it now

Walt
11 months ago

“Was” is past tense. Their bodies were found literally feet from where their travel trailer had been parked previously.

Rob
11 months ago

Oh it couldn’t be an illegal could it. Oh no, not those nice illegals.

TheLoneWolf
11 months ago
Reply to  Rob

We don’t really know if it was an illigal yet, bad to jump to conclusions. Buy a gun, train well, and stay vigilant.

Judy
11 months ago
Reply to  Rob
Taylor
11 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Racist much? It was a couple of white American scumbags. Probably running away to hide in Mexico for the crimes they’ve committed which you all have blamed the illegals for.

Janee Delaine
11 months ago

I doubt the killers will be found. Mexico is probably where they were killed. I would never camp near Mexican border. They come over to take vehicles and have no problem killing you. My guess their killer are from Mexico. So sad. Too many people from US are disappearing or killed in Mexico.

Edward Price
11 months ago
Reply to  Janee Delaine

And after they were “killed in Mexico” as you claim, the killer then hauled their bodies maybe 200 miles north to Corpus Christie to bury them on Padre Island beach?

Billy Bob Thorton
11 months ago
Reply to  Edward Price

Grade school report card; Reading comprehension ” needs improvement”

Draugole
11 months ago

I myself was wanting to RV after retiring touring our beautiful country but now I just dont know.

Billy Bob Thorton
11 months ago
Reply to  Draugole

Come on, if your serious let’s look at the math. What is the likelihood your going to boonedock on a free beach in Texas. Slim to none. What is the likelihood you would be murdered while camping, slim to none. Enjoy your life, as you can’t worry about the possibility of being in a situation where bad things can happen. ALWAYS, be cautious, heck it’s human nature anyway. If you can handle it, pack a long gun, but, be comfortable with firearms. If your an anti-gunner, only stay in cramped, well lit RV parks.

Marton Freeman
11 months ago

The truck and trailer can be found. Every new GM vehicle has a on star system. The Chevy Silverado can be located and shut down.

Lady bug
11 months ago
Reply to  Marton Freeman

The on star was dismantled by the killer

Craig Northey
11 months ago
Reply to  Marton Freeman

Well that doesn’t really help the dead couple now does it? Who cares about the truck or camper, its the sad loss of these two peoples lives that matter. We must secure our border.

OldSlowHans
11 months ago
Reply to  Marton Freeman

First thing perp does is pull on-Star fuse.

PennyPA
11 months ago

I was support of wondering that, too, George.

PennyPA
11 months ago
Reply to  PennyPA

sort…not “support”…although I support everyone’s right to carry…if you’ve been through good training.

littleleftie
11 months ago

Absolutely horrible way to end one’s life. Makes me worry (even more) about my safety when in my RV.

Rich Galinovsky
11 months ago
Reply to  littleleftie

Gun……

TheLoneWolf
11 months ago
Reply to  littleleftie

You should always worry about your safety. Just don’t left it make you paranoid. Get a gun and stay safe out there.

Billy Bob Thorton
11 months ago
Reply to  TheLoneWolf

You forgot, vote R or C, otherwise you will be a law breaker if the current anit-gun crowd gets their teeth into it.

Marcy Krauss
11 months ago

That is one of the most terrible things that I’ve ever heard.

Drexx
10 months ago
Reply to  Marcy Krauss

Lol humanity gets much worse than that

Rick
11 months ago

Always be aware of your location ,surroundings and defensive options. Weapons, less lethal devices and tell someone or local authorities where you are and how long you’re staying.

Mike Sherman
11 months ago

This is obviously a very disturbing story and highlights a problem for RVers. I find it astounding that it would appear they were murdered for their truck, and RV. Had the border officers required the driver ID to match the registration for the truck/trailer we might have seen an arrest perhaps, or at least a detention for further investigation. Unfortunately, the facts are scarce, so we can only speculate but like I always say, better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6. If you travel in an RV, regardless if you are boon docking or not, pack some heat. It might make a difference.

Billy Bob Thorton
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Sherman

Dude, you serious, “border officer” they were entering MEXICO. Does anyone really think that country cares who was driving. Listen, the fact that 16 people already gave this a +, scares me on how many have a grasp. WOW.

Cindylee Travis
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Sherman

And the sad thing😡😡Sanctuary cities will protect illegals.. Criminally illegals here and then committing despicable crimes against LEGAL AMERICAN CITIZENS… Build the wall.. And how did they get into Mexico?? PC?? Afraid of being called racist..Tough luck..Profiling can save life’s 😡😡