A missing black man was found dead two weeks after he was last seen staggered out of a Houston bar after a night out with friends.
Authorities confirmed that a body discovered floating in the Houston Ship Channel Friday was 26-year-old Delano Burkes, according to reports. AREA 11.
Tugboat workers were the first to discover Burkes’ body, the newspaper reported.
Burkes went missing on November 13 while barhopping with friends in the Heights neighborhood, where surveillance video shows him leaving the McIntyre bar on West 19th Street.
Delano Burkes’ body was found Friday at the Houston Ship Channel, officials confirm, about 12.5 miles from where he was last seen alive: https://t.co/ubrFzV2bes pic.twitter.com/yJa7jbTBoQ
– KHOU 11 Houston News (@KHOU) November 29, 2022
The missing man’s family believes ‘something sinister’ happened to him when his body was discovered.
He is believed to have been escorted from the bar, and was last seen casually crossing the street. Burkes’ family said he appeared to be in pain.
Other footage shows him wandering around the block shortly after 1am
Burkes’ mother, Karen Jeffrey, said the family believed “something very dangerous” happened to him.
“We believe something sinister has happened to him. He doesn’t look like he’s got his feet under control. It doesn’t look like he’ll get very far,” Burkes’ mother, Karen Jeffrey, said at a press conference last week, KTRK reported.
NEWS: The body found Friday in waters near the Port of Houston was Delano Burkes, according to the Harris County Medical Examiner. He has been missing since November 13 after leaving a bar in Heights. @houstonpolice The murder unit is currently leading the investigation @AREA pic.twitter.com/HqIqpAIZfV
– White Grace (@GraceWhiteKHOU) November 28, 2022
Family believes Delano Burkes was drugged at a Houston bar before going missing, died
His family added that it appeared Burkes had been drugged. Although investigators say there is currently no evidence he was drugged, they say they have not yet ruled out that possibility.
Meanwhile, an autopsy will be performed on Burkes to determine the exact cause of his death.
His mother went on to say that Burkes’ friends got into his car and went home without him after he left the bar alone.
The family distributed flyers with his picture in the neighborhood where he was last seen in an attempt to find him before the gruesome discovery Friday.
Authorities are offering a $5,000 reward through Crime Stoppers for any information that could lead to Burkes’ disappearance and death.
BLACK AND MISSING: DELANO BURKES pic.twitter.com/eNTWu7qjh0
– Kathy J Ramsey (@kramsey54) November 26, 2022
“There can be a lot of information that can bring this family closure and comfort during this difficult time,” Democrats said after Burkes’ death was confirmed, according to Fox 26 Houston. “We would like to ask everyone to continue to help us find out what happened to Delano Burkes.”
Death still under investigation as Burkes’ widow posts heartbreaking tribute on Instagram
Burkes is survived by his wife, Autumn, who posted a tribute to her husband on Instagram. She has known him since the age of 13, the outlet reported.
“There are no words to describe the devastating, deep pain I feel at this moment,” the young widow wrote on Instagram. “There is so much life worth living and so much love to give. You are the gentlest soul full of strength and joy. Your smile got me through my darkest moments and your humor got me through some of my lowest points.
The case is still being investigated by the Houston Police Department’s homicide unit, which is used in cases of the death of a missing person.