New Hampshire Couple Found Buried On Texas Beach Weeks After Vanishing While Traveling Across The Country

James and Michelle Butler were found by a deputy buried on top of one another on Padre Island in Texas. Their deaths are being investigated as homicides.

By Gina Tron

The search for a missing New Hampshire couple who vanished while camping a few weeks ago came to a tragic halt after their bodies were mysteriously discovered buried on a beach in South Texas.

James Butler, 48, and Michelle Butler, 46, have been identified as the two bodies discovered on Padre Island, near Corpus Christi, the Kleberg County Sheriff’s Office in Texas said in a release. A deputy found Michelle’s body in a shallow grave before finding her husband’s body buried beneath hers, investigators announced on Friday.

“At present law enforcement officers are working on the investigation and are working on identification of persons of interest and attempting to find the whereabouts of the victims’ truck and RV trailer,” the release stated.

The Butlers were reported missing, along with their truck and RV, last week. Relatives said the pair had been traveling the country in a recreational vehicle since June 2018 and were last heard from on Oct. 16. They said they believed the Butlers visited Padre Island.

They most recently had worked as gate guards for oil rigs in Texas, checking vehicles in and out, said Butler’s sister, Deborah van Loon, of Rumney, New Hampshire on Saturday.

James Michelle Butler Fb

They were in frequent contact with family and shared photographs of their trip on Facebook, she said.

“We all loved what they were doing and they loved sharing it with us,” said van Loon who, described her brother as “an all-around really wonderful man.”

He retired from the Navy in 2010 and “loved to joke around about everything,” she said. He came back to Rumney, New Hampshire, after he retired when his mother was dying of cancer, van Loon said. He met Michelle then and they married in 2015, she said.

The couple were likely headed to a part-time job in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and were due to arrive there in November to sell Christmas trees, van Loon said.

Saturday would have been James’ 49th birthday, KZTV in Corpus Christi reports.

Now, investigators aim to search for their killer or killers. 

Investigators will hold a press conference Monday about the investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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