James and Michelle Butler

BREAKING: Bodies found mysteriously buried together at beach identified as missing couple

Two bodies found buried together at a South Texas beach last week have been identified as a missing New Hampshire couple.

The Kleberg County Sheriff’s Office announced that the Nueces County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victims as 48-year-old James Butler and his wife, 46-year-old Michelle Butler. Authorities are treating the deaths as homicides, according to the Caller Times.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, the couple last made contact with family on October 16. Last Friday, the Kleberg County Sheriff’s Office announced that James and Michelle were officially considered missing.

On Sunday, police found a female’s body buried in a shallow grave in “the bowl” of Padre Island, near Corpus Christi, between Mile Markers 263 and 264. Authorities found a male’s body buried the following day. According to Chief Deputy Jaime Garza, the male’s body was found buried underneath the female’s body.

How do you protect your children from predators? Join Nancy Grace and a team of world-class experts for the online course ‘Justice Nation: Crime Stops Here’.

So far, no persons of interest have been announced. Last week, authorities confirmed that security footage captured someone driving the couple’s 2018 Silver Chevrolet 2500 pickup truck, which was towing their white Cedar Creek RV, close to the Mexico border.

James’ sister, Deborah Lynn van Loon, made a post on Facebook, announcing that the Kleberg County Sheriff’s Office informed her that an unknown person was driving the truck into Mexico. The exact day the truck was spotted on security footage is unclear at this time.

2018 silver Chevy Silverado 2500New Hampshire License plate 373 8968OnStar cannot be tracked. No signal.

Posted by Finding Michelle & James Butler on Saturday, October 26, 2019


According to The New Hampshire Union-Leader, James and Michelle were living out their dreams of traveling across the country. They had been traveling since last Summer, taking on temporary odd jobs along the way. They were reportedly on their way to  Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when they stopped by Corpus Christi and decided to stay.


Posted by Finding Michelle & James Butler on Saturday, October 26, 2019


Van Loon said that the couple found a free place to park their RV at Padre Island when tragedy struck. The pair had been there a little over two weeks when they suddenly stopped contacting their family. This was unusual, according to van Loon, who said James and Michelle typically made contact with family daily, often telling them about their adventures.

James was retired after serving 21 years in the U.S. Navy. He shared the love of traveling with his wife.

“He said, ‘I’ve traveled the world with the Navy, but I’ve never seen my own country,'” van Loon said.

The story continues to develop. Check back for updates.

For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Here is our latest episode. 

Join Nancy Grace for her new online video series designed to help you protect what you love most – your children.

[Feature Photo: James and Michelle Butler/Handout]