Texas Man Found Dead in Texas
A man who had been missing since November was found dead in Texas. The body of 26-year-old Delano Burkes was recovered Friday, after a long search by Texas EquuSearch and law enforcement authorities. He was last seen in surveillance footage from McIntyre’s bar on West 20th Street in Houston’s Heights neighborhood around 1 a.m., FOX 26’s Matthew Seedorff reported.
He had been bar-hopping that night with friends, according to his family. They say he ran out of battery on his cell phone, and that he was probably drugged while at the bars he went to. The case is now considered a homicide investigation, and Burke’s family is offering $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest.
After Burkes’ disappearance, law enforcement searched the area where he had been seen on surveillance video for more than two weeks, with little success. Then, on Friday, a tugboat crew recovered the body of Burkes from the Houston Ship Channel, about 12 miles down White Oak Bayou from where he was last seen.
As they continue to search, law enforcement has enlisted the help of Texas EquuSearch, who is offering $5,000 for any information leading to an arrest in Burke’s case. The company’s founder, Tim Miller, spent days searching for the man.
The company’s Facebook page stated that “a large team” of investigators from Texas EquuSearch and local police departments spent the weekend scouring the area where Burkes was seen on video. After that, the investigation was handed off to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
During the course of the investigation, detectives questioned Burkes’ friends and relatives who told them that they were unsure what had happened to him that night. His cell phone had run out of charge, and he was “stumbling” when they asked him to leave the bar. His family believed that he may have been drugged, but there were no witnesses to that.
After the investigation, the body was sent to the county’s medical examiner for autopsy. The results are expected to be released on Wednesday, according to the sheriff’s office.
It is unclear whether the remains were from the same person, but forensic genetic genealogy specialists are still working to identify the remains. In order to do that, they need to match DNA samples from the remains with reference samples from other people.
In addition, the sheriff’s office said that they need to compare the deceased’s hair to that of other people whose DNA has been matched. These matches are vital to identifying the person, because they will give investigators an idea of where their ancestry is from.
The sheriff’s office also is asking the public to help with its DNA matching effort by sending DNA samples for comparison. This is not the first time that this type of DNA testing has helped in identifying unidentified bodies.
In 2011, a man with an identical sexmark to Christine Morton, a woman who had been bludgeoned to death in her bedroom, was found a year after she disappeared. Morton’s DNA was tested and the results matched a man who had been convicted of a similar crime in California. This triggered a national manhunt that led to the conviction of an additional four men and the imprisonment of a total of 23 people. The case was eventually solved by the use of DNA evidence and other evidence, including testimony from witnesses and a confession by a suspect.