Jason Landry, the 21-year-old Texas State student who went missing four months ago, is still nowhere to be found.
Despite numerous search efforts, no trace of Landry has been found since his car was found crashed in the Luling area on Dec. 13.
Landry's case has been featured on Dateline and local news outlets across Texas in the months since he went missing. Most recently, podcast True Crime Chronicles released an episode dedicated to Landry this week.
The podcast features Landry's father Kent Landry, who said that Jason was getting his footing at Texas State and hoping to make it into the prestigious sound recording technology program before he went missing.
The podcast, that sits among other cold cases and stories on seriel killers, dives deep into the details surrounding that December night—including the window between when Landry's phone records stopped and his car was found crashed after appearing to hit two trees on the isolated Salt Flat Road.
Landry was on the way home from Texas State to Houston to celebrate Christmas, but appeared to make a detour along the way.
Investigators believe that Landry hit two trees and later a barbed wire fence after over-correcting on the gravel road.
Perplexingly, Landry's keys were still in the ignition, his car's headlights were still on and the passenger door was locked. His phone and wallet were found in his car, while a backpack with his laptop, gaming equipment and a small amount of marijuana were found 900 feet away. Alongside the backpack were toiletries, a baseball cap and a container of his dead betta fish, while some of his clothing including a shirt, shorts, underwear and a wristwatch were spread further along the road.
Investigators think that the clothes found were worn by Landry prior to the crash, although they could have also been packed beforehand. Despite the crash, there was no blood found in the car, but a small smear of blood was found on his shorts.
Kent Landry said that head injuries could have made him confused as he left the scene of the crash.
"It's possible that you're out of your mind and you think you're hot but you're cold," Landry said. "Did he change clothes? I don't know. I just have images of my child in the middle of the road in the country looking for help."
There are no leads on the circumstances surrounding the case, though it appears that the crash was a one-car collision. No sign of foul play has been found, KHOU reporter Grace White said on the podcast.
"It's just one of those situations where you don't know which direction to go," White said. "It's not even fair to call it a crime scene because we don't even know if a crime occurred."
Thousands of investigators and concerned citizens have pitched in to try to find Landry since he went missing. Search and rescue efforts lasted for nine days after he went missing, and a new three-day search was revamped with over 100 Search and Rescue crew members in late February.
According to the podcast, searchers found a glimmer of hope last week when cadaver dogs led them to a pond near where Landry went missing. The pond was drained, but nothing was found.
Kent Landry said that the family can only hope for more leads as they continue to search for their son.
"To think missing a turn could lead to something like this, it's beyond description," Kent Landry said. "It's a bad dream that we keep hoping we wake up from."
The requests for continued search efforts have been conducted through the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office. Anyone with tips or information regarding Landry can call 911, contact the office at 512-398-6777 or email Detective Jeff Ferry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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A $500 million mixed-use development spanning 1,400 acres is coming to Southeast Austin, near Tesla’s headquarters at Giga Texas.
Plans for the development by Houston-based real estate firm Hines include 2,500 houses along with multi-family and townhomes, and commercial land. Hines is partnering with Trez Capital, Sumitomo Forestry and Texas-based Caravel Ventures.
The development, which is known as Mirador, will be located off the 130 Toll and Highway 71, which the developers say provides easy access to the Circuit of the Americas Formula 1 racetrack and other Austin attractions like restaurants, parks and live music venues.
Hines also boasts amenities like a 60-acre lake, over 600 acres of greenbelt, community parks, trails and a swimming pool.
“As Austin continues to grow into the tech epicenter of Texas, coupled with a supply-constrained market, the demand for new housing is at its highest,” Dustin Davidson, managing director at Hines, said. “Mirador will be critical in providing more options for Austin’s growing population and we are excited to work alongside our partners given they each provide a unique and valued perspective in single-family development.”
The local housing market has been hot in recent years, with home sales accelerating earlier in the pandemic. In July 2021, the Austin metro area hit its pricing peak at $478,000. As Austonia previously reported, the area has been expected to see the Tesla effect, with the new workforce driving up demand for housing and other services.
The single-family houses are expected to be developed over the course of six years, in phases. Construction on the homes is expected to start this year and home sales will begin in 2023.
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Editor's note: This story summarizes Sports Illustrated's story detailing Michael Center's involvement in the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal, based on interviews with SI's Jon Wertheim. Additionally, Austonia received comments from Michael Center, included in this story.
Confined to his couch, former Longhorns tennis coach Michael Center praised his players via FaceTime after the program he built produced the Longhorns’ first national championship in 2019—a bittersweet moment as Center faced federal charges as part of the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal.
His name dragged through the mud, Center was fired, arrested by the FBI and sentenced to six months in a Central Texas federal prison after pleading guilty to two charges related to mail fraud. And over a year after his release, Center told Sports Illustrated he doubts he was the only one in burnt orange involved.
When the Varsity Blues scandal broke out to the public in 2019, the investigation was a perfect storm for nationwide attention: Hollywood glamour, blue blood conspiracy and faith in the tried-and-true American education system came to a head as 33 movie stars and other elites were found guilty of paying more than $25 million to pave their children’s way into eight colleges, including the University of Texas.
UT was one of eight schools caught in the college admissions scandal. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
The figure behind Varsity Blues, “college consultant” Rick Singer, would plead guilty to four felony counts for faking SAT scores and bribing coaches at prominent universities for his elite clients—but not before throwing Center under the bus.
Singer's client, private equity executive Chris Schaepe, was looking for a way to bend UT's tight admissions policies for his son, who was seeking a position oddly as a manager on UT’s basketball team. Through a middleman, Singer contacted Center, who eventually agreed.
Schaepe's son hadn't played tennis since his freshman year of high school. It was a detail that Center says passed through plenty of hands before he was admitted, including "academic support staff, the compliance office, the sports supervisor and, ultimately, the athletic director," SI's Jon Wertheim writes.
No one in the entire athletic department, including seven "risk management and compliant services department" employees, was named, implicated or punished. After an internal investigation, Center was the only one named in the Varsity Blues "subterfuge" in a September 2019 UT news release signed by the university president.
He told Austonia he was never contacted by the university during the investigation, and when the NCAA interviewed him for its investigation, he says it cleared him of any violations.
“I almost fell out of my chair,” Center said. “I literally couldn’t breathe. There’s no college coach in America—much less at a state school, much less a coach of a nonrevenue sport—who can admit an athlete without consulting other people in the athletic department. What they were asking people to believe, it’s just impossible.” SI said Center's assertion was backed by multiple UT coaches and administrators at other schools.But why would the Forty Acres be complicit?
Center said UT’s then newly named athletic director Steve Patterson made clear that Center suddenly was responsible for more than building a successful tennis program. He was to be a "fundraiser first and coach second" and he would need to find donors to fund a new tennis facility. Patterson admitted to SI that he wanted his coaches to find donors and said the department was "$15 million in the red" when he started in 2013, though he denies any knowledge of the false tennis recruitment.
Center said he knew he would be "considered a team player" if he let in the son of a Silicon Valley magnate. And sure enough, Schaepe immediately began pulling out his wallet, donating $100,000 to UT tennis and a six-figure check to the school's communication program.
"I never entered this as a way to profit. This was a fundraising mission where I made a terrible mistake at the end,"
Months after Schaepe's son was admitted, Center agreed to meet Singer at the Austin airport and found himself accepting a backpack filled with $60,000 in cash meant for him, personally. He said he immediately knew he had made a mistake. He told SI “I put the money in my basement and gave most of it away.”
“Why did I do it?” Center told Sports Illustrated. "I go to bed and wake up each day asking myself the same question. I had to convince myself that I somehow deserved the money."
Once in court, Center showed texts with UT's compliance official and mentioned Chris Plonsky, a department executive involved in "overseeing men’s tennis, compliance, academic support (which generates letters of intent) and the Longhorn Foundation," according to SI.
“I knew I had to answer for my guilt,” Center said. “But I was like, 'Man, schools are going to get hammered.'"'
INMATE 77806-112 but out on Sunday: Actor Felicity Huffman in prison uniform outside low-security Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin to visit actor husband William H. Macy & their daughter. Huffman admitted to paying $15K to have fixer boost daughter’s SAT score. 📸: @TMZ pic.twitter.com/9jALmqnA0U
— Henry K. Lee (@henrykleeKTVU) October 21, 2019
But Center was the only Longhorn to go down for the crimes. “I was no rogue actor,” Center said. “And this wasn’t my word against their word. There were signatures that went along with it. That’s the system... There wasn’t one point in the process where I thought people wanted to learn the whole truth.”
Back at home in Austin, Center watched as actress Felicity Huffman served just eleven days for her part in the scandal. Some served up to five months; others simply paid a fine, and others, like Singer, await sentencing.
And because the prosecution chose to blame individual coaches, framing schools as victims in the case, universities like UT have received less than a slap on the wrist for their possible involvement.
“I was always taught that actions have consequences,” Center said. “What I’ve come to realize is that, yes, for some people actions absolutely do have consequences. Serious, heavy ones. For others, actions can have no consequences at all.”
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