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Law enforcement releases photo of persons of interest in the James & Michelle Butler homicide case

Posted at 2:23 PM, Nov 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-04 18:00:14-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Kleberg County officials have released a photo of two people they say are persons of interest in the James and Michelle Butler homicide case.

James and Michelle Butler are a New Hampshire couple who were staying on the beach at Padre Island in their camper in Corpus Christi when they were reported missing.

According to officials they were last seen alive on Oct. 15 after moving out of the recreational vehicle facility at Padre Balli Park.

Later that afternoon, officials say the couple posted a picture on social media showing they had just arrived at their new site, which was on the beach south of Bob Hall Pier near mile marker 263, in rural Eastern Kleberg County.

Days later the couple's family reported them missing after they couldn't contact with them. The family said it was unusual for the Butlers to not keep in contact.

Family members say James and Michelle Butler were staying on the beach and were then heading to Florida where they would pick up a job selling Christmas trees.

But on Oct. 27, law enforcement located remains they suspected belonged to a woman. The following day, law enforcement found a second body, and it was confirmed the remains belonged to a man and a woman.

On Nov. 1, those remains were positively identified as James and Michelle Butler.

During a press conference on Nov. 4, law enforcement released a photo of a man and woman in a vehicle.

They say the two people seen in the photo are persons of interest in this case.

Kleberg County District Attorney John Hubert said the man in the picture has large holes in his earlobes, also known as gauges. The man and woman both have tattoos. The female has a tattoo on her forearm.

Officials are hoping someone can either identify the two or if maybe a tattoo artist can identify the tattoos.

District Attorney John Hubert says the person in the picture is probably local to the Corpus Christi area.

Again, the people in the picture are only persons of interest.

"At this point we just know that they might have come in contact with the victims and because of that we want to talk with them, but we've got no indication as to their role at this point," said Hubert.

Hubert goes on to say that they don't know if there's more people involved. They only have a picture of two people, but said there might be other people in the back or some they are not seeing in the photo.

Before the couple was found dead, the family told Action 10 News that James and Michelle Butler's vehicle was seen crossing into Mexico. They also said surveillance video showed that the driver was not James Butler.

When asked for details on that information, Hubert said it's part of the ongoing investigation, but he did say officials have been in contact with Mexican authorities.

Law enforcement did say they are not at liberty to discuss the facts of the investigation to protect the integrity of the case, but they are confident they will find those responsible.

"I have committed one hundred percent of our department's resources and have dedicated an entire investigative team to ensure that the person or persons responsible for this tragic crime are brought to justice," said Kleberg Co. Sheriff Richard Kirkpatrick.

When asked how safe the beach is, officials said it is safe. They told us they have an officer that spends a lot of time there and has good contact with park rangers and other law enforcement. They encourage anyone who sees something suspicious to report it, even if you are reporting it to the Corpus Christi Police Department because that information will get turned over to Kleberg Co. Officials ad they will respond.

We're also told the National Seashore is taking their own measures and the Kleberg County Sheriff has talked about various alternatives to patrolling the part of the beach where the Butler's were found.

If you have information on the persons of interest in this case call the Kleberg County Sheriff's Office at 361-595-8500.