Double homicide at Padre Island, search continues for persons of interest

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RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – The bodies of a missing couple last seen on Padre Island have been identified. Authorities revealing new details in the murder investigation of a New Hampshire couple found buried on the beach.

Authorities are searching for two persons of interest in connection to the murder of the couple. The couple’s truck and trailer used to travel across the country was seen driven into Mexico by someone other than the couple only days after the two went missing. Authorities are not releasing which port of entry was used to cross. A photo was taken at the port of entry and in that photo is the man police are looking to question.

The Kleberg County Sheriff’s Office is also asking for the Texas community to help identify the woman driving with the man shown in the photo. James and Michelle Butler both in their late 40’s took off from New Hampshire in June 2018, kicking off their road trip across the country. That trip took a deadly turn when the couple started camping at Padre Island in mid-October where they reportedly planned on staying for two weeks. A vacation cut short after their families reported them missing a day after arriving at the island.

The search began after the two stopped updating their road trip on social media and daily communication with their family. That search ended last week when the two were found buried on top of each other in a shallow grave at the island. Kleberg County Sheriff’s authorities believe wildlife dug the woman out, allowing investigators to find her body. The cause of death has not been disclosed but investigators have not ruled out homicide.

Authorities are working around the clock to piece this puzzle together. Anyone with information regarding the persons of interest whereabouts is urged to call the Kleberg County Sheriff’s Office at (361) 595-8500.

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