Body of missing man found floating in Port of Houston

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 5:37 AM EST
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HOUSTON (KHOU) - The body of a 26-year-old man missing for almost two weeks was recovered from the Port of Houston, according to medical examiners. An autopsy is due to determine his cause of death.

Texas EquuSearch founder Tim Miller spent days looking for 26-year-old Delano Burkes. The young man was last seen Nov. 13 on surveillance video as he left McIntyre’s, a bar in the Houston Heights neighborhood.

A tugboat crew found Burkes’ body Friday in the Houston Ship Channel, roughly 12 miles down the White Oak Bayou from where he was last seen. A Houston Police Department dive team recovered the body.

The body of 26-year-old Delano Burkes was found in the Port of Houston nearly two weeks after...
The body of 26-year-old Delano Burkes was found in the Port of Houston nearly two weeks after he was last seen on surveillance video as he left a bar in the Houston Heights neighborhood.(Source: KHOU via CNN)

“We put a lot of effort in that search,” Miller said. “We knew that it was him, but of course, we had to wait for positive ID.”

Miller says the bar where Burkes was last seen is only about a half-mile from the bayou.

Police have not said if they believe Burkes fell in the water on his own or if foul play was involved. The case has been turned over to HPD’s Homicide Unit, but that’s standard any time there’s a death associated with a missing person’s case.

“Hopefully, the investigation will go ahead and put our speculations behind us and, hopefully, come out with the truth,” Miller said.

Meanwhile, Burkes’ family wants answers about what happened to the 26-year-old. His mother, Karen Jeffly, begged for the public’s help in the search for her son last week.

“He was with a friend that he hadn’t seen in a while. They left him at the club,” she said.

His family says Burkes’ friends left him without his car or ID, and his cell phone ran out of battery. In surveillance video, he can be seen stumbling near McInytre’s after he was apparently asked to leave the bar.

Jeffly acknowledges he was likely “tipsy” at the time, but she says the family believes he may have been drugged.

Police said they’re still trying to figure out what happened that night. There is no information suggesting he was drugged, but police could not rule it out.

They are now waiting on the results of an autopsy to determine Burkes’ cause of death.