NewsNational News


Human remains discovered in well near missing college student's Texas apartment complex

Caleb Harris went missing in March, and his disappearance is still the subject of an active investigation.
Posted at 6:27 PM, Jun 26, 2024

Human remains have been found in an advanced state of decomposition near the residence of a Texas A&M student who disappeared months ago.

Caleb Harris was last seen near his apartment complex off the university's Corpus Christi campus on March 4.

On Monday, the Corpus Christi Police Department said a city water employee notified officers after discovering remains in a 40-foot well — a wastewater collection point that's located near the 21-year-old's apartment complex.

Police called in the Corpus Christi Fire Department to assist due to the "hazardous area." Then the well was drained before fire officials, donning hazardous material suits, retrieved the human remains from the well and gave over custody to the medical examiner's office.

In an update Wednesday, police said the medical examiner's office was unable to identify the remains nor provide a manner or cause of death due to the "advanced state of decomposition," but officers say they bore "no obvious signs of homicide."

When asked by Scripps News Corpus Christi if an entire body was found, Corpus County Police Chief Mike Markle said, "Almost. We found human remains. We'll leave it at that."

Related: Police search for clues in 21-year-old college student's disappearance

According to the police timeline, Harris spent the hours before his disappearance playing video games with friends and roommates. Just before 1 a.m. on March 4, he was captured on a doorbell camera playing with a friend's puppy in his apartment complex's parking lot, and nearly an hour and a half later, he told his roommate he was going to order food.

Just after 3 a.m., Caleb sent a Snapchat photo of what appeared to be a small bridge over a drainage ditch a few hundred feet away from the apartment complex's entrance. A cell phone tower picked up his last location at 3:12 a.m., and an Uber Eats driver delivered Harris' food outside the front door at 3:20 a.m.

One of Caleb's roommates found the food order the next day at 11:00 a.m. and noticed Harris' truck, wallet and keys were in the apartment. They notified police after unsuccessfully searching for him.

Police then conducted interviews — ruling out the student's family, friends and the Uber driver as potential suspects — and scoured surveillance footage and the local area. That search in the early days of the investigation included the location and area of the well where the human remains were later found.

The remains are now heading to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification for DNA analysis while Corpus Christi detectives work to determine how they entered the well in the first place.

Markle told Scripps News Corpus Christi that although he senses the urgency from the community and those close to Harris, quick results aren't guaranteed in order to properly handle the investigation. He said it will take anywhere from a month to six weeks to identify the remains.

"At that time, we'll know whether we'll bring closure to existing cases or start a new case or even if there's any foul play involved," Markle said. "I understand families are waiting ... We need to take our time and make sure we do this right and the investigation is handled properly, and we'll have to wait for some answers."