Justin Walker, an 18-year-old from Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, has been missing since Saturday night after leaving a concert at South Padre Island. Police are searching for the teen and asking the public for assistance in finding him.
San Antonio Express-News reports that Walker attended South Padre Island’s Ultimate Music Experience (UME) at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark on Saturday. He went to the festival with two friends, but according to Cameron County Parks Police Chief Horacio Zamora, he somehow became separated from them as they were leaving the event and never showed up at the place he was staying at.
“His friends went back to where they were staying, but he never showed up. Right now, we’re looking at the possibility that he may have entered a marshy area next to the event.”
On late Saturday evening, the teen’s mother, Deborah Walker, filed a missing person’s report after talking to her son’s friends.
According to Deborah Walker, “He got separated from his best friend during the concert while they were walking away to go sit down and rest for while. They were going through a big crowd of people. [His friend said] he turned around and Justin was gone, just like that.”
Justin’s car was found inside Isla Blanca Park, close to a tent area, on Sunday. The Cameron County Sheriff’s Office, South Padre Island Police Department, Coast Guard, and the Texas Department of Public Safety have all joined in to help find the 18-year-old. Airboats, cadaver dogs, and helicopters are being utilized in the search.
According to his friends, Justin was last seen wearing dark shorts, a blue tribal Zumiez shirt, a black hat with the word “Primitive” embroidered in red lettering on the front, and Nike shoes. Justin stands around five-foot-nine, with light brown hair and hazel eyes. He weighs around 175 pounds and has a faint scar on his right eyelid.
Justin’s disappearance is eerily similar to an incident that occurred last year, when 20-year-old Jordan Britten went missing after attending the 2015 UME festival at Schlitterbahn.
After an exhaustive by authorities and volunteers, Britten’s body was found several days later in a marshy area located close to the water park. An official autopsy report stated that he died accidentally from acute drug intoxication, which led to hypothermia and drowning. Britten was found wearing only his underwear.
Britten’s friends said he became separated from them in the Schlitterbahn parking lot, similar to what happened to Justin. According to Justin’s father, John Walker, friends searched for his son for nearly 12 hours before calling his family.
“We didn’t have word about it until 12 hours after the fact. The boys didn’t have phones. They were dead, couldn’t charge them (and) the charger in the car didn’t work.”
The distressed father also stated that he worried about the normal things that parents worry about when their children are out, but he never thought he’d have to be concerned about his son turning up missing.
“We were worried about the usual things. Did he get pulled over for speeding? A wrecked car? Drinking? Something! Nothing to turn up missing… No one thinks it’ll happen to their child. And, so the hard part is the waiting of course.”
Deborah Walker last spoke to Justin via FaceTime while he was at South Padre Island. He seemed to be enjoying himself and having a good time, she said.
Police are asking the public for assistance. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Justin Walker should call the Cameron County Parks Police at 956-761-5283, or call 911.
KENS 5 reports that a body matching Justin Walker was found in Matamoros, Mexico, at Costa Azul beach, around 24 miles away from South Padre Island. An official identification hasn’t yet been made, but authorities stated that the clothing found on the body matches what Justin Walker last wore before he went missing.
[Photo via the Cameron County Park Police]