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Kleberg Co. Sheriff's Office searching for two persons of interest in Butler case

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Posted at 6:28 PM, Nov 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-04 19:28:05-05

KLEBERG COUNTY — The Kleberg County Sheriff's Office is working to identify two persons of interest, in connection to the murders of James and Michelle Butler. A press conference was held this morning to provide more details about the ongoing investigation.

During the press conference, investigators released a photo of surveillance video of a man and woman who may know information about the Butler's and their disappearance. That photo was taken as the two persons of interest were crossing the U.S. Mexico Border, in the Butler's truck which was towing their trailer.

"We just want to find out who these people are, and talk with them about the facts of the case," said John T. Hubert, the District Attorney for Kleberg County.

Investigators are now asking for the public's help in identifying the two individuals. Investigators don't know how old they are or where they're from, but they could have local ties.

As the Butler family waits for answers, in an interview with NBC Boston, they described their lost loved ones as friendly, outgoing and inseparable.

"They just were the perfect yin and yang with each other," said Stephanie van Loon, James Butler's niece. "They weren't separate people when they were together. They were just one unit."

The couple, 48-year-old James and 46-year-old Michelle Butler, were last seen alive on October 15. They were reported missing on October 23, after friends and family lost contact with them.

"Our gut feeling was that we knew something was wrong, we just couldn't figure it out," said Deborah Van Loon, James Butler's sister. "We were all getting nervous and scared."

Investigators discovered the couple's body last Monday, and they were positively identified on Friday.

Meanwhile the family is still grieving, and they plan to cremate their loved ones in Texas before having a celebration of life back at home in New Hampshire.

"If it's (the suspect) a friend or someone who they met along the way, who they helped out, it's really going to hurt twice as much," said Stephanie.

"It's just gong to be a big gaping hole in all of our hearts for forever," said Deborah.

The male in the photo that investigators want to talk to does have distinct features, like piercing and tattoos.

If you have any information about the persons of interest or this case you're asked to call the Kleberg County Sheriff's Office or crime stoppers at 888-TIPS.