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Remains Of College Student Who Mysteriously Vanished A Year Ago Believed Found In Shallow Grave

Jose Varela, Austin Walker, Eric Aguilar and Gannon Gotlieb have been arrested in connection with the presumed murder of Lone Star College student Zulyr Kaleem.

By Gina Tron
Timeline: College Violence And Crime

The presumed remains of a missing Texas college student were found buried in a shallow grave almost a year to the day after he mysteriously disappeared. 

Human remains were recovered Tuesday in Grimes County, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. While a forensic investigation is pending to determine their identity, investigators believe the remains are likely that of Zulyr Kaleem, 21, who vanished on Apr. 27, 2019.

Kaleem was a student at Lone Star College when he went missing, according to KTRK-TV in Houston. His family said it was out of character for him to break contact with them, the outlet reported.

"It's just like, what happened really, though?" his dad Kaleem Ahmed asked the outlet last year. "We know where he's going to: a friend, where he's going to eat, where he's going to visit a place. It's just unusual for him to be gone that long."

Zuhyr Kaleem Pd

The missing persons investigation turned into a homicide investigation back in August, according to KTRK. Investigators said they developed evidence which led them to believe last summer that Kaleem was shot to death during a drug deal gone wrong before his body was dumped elsewhere.

Three 21-year-old males have now been arrested in connection with the discovery of the remains in Grimes County, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Jose Varela, Austin Walker and Eric Aguilar have been arrested and charged with capital murder, the office confirmed to Oxygen.comGannon Gotlieb, 23, was charged with tampering with evidence or a human body. 

Walker Varela Aquilar Pd

Aguilar and another man allegedly met with Kaleem to buy drugs last April when an argument broke out, KTRK reports. Aguilar allegedly claimed Kaleem pulled a gun on them and he said he tried to get the gun away when it went off. He's accused of being the shooter.

Gotlieb lived on the property where the remains were found and he allegedly admitted to burying the body, according to KTRK.

Prosecutors were reportedly trying to get bond denied for Varela, Walker and Aguilar because of the gravity of the charges. Aguilar's bond was set at $200,000 on Wednesday. It’s not clear if any of the suspects have lawyers who can speak on their behalf.