A missing Black man was found dead two weeks after he was last seen stumbling 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 KHOU 11.
Tugboat workers were the first to spot Burkes’ body, the outlet reported.
Burkes went missing on November 13 while barhopping with friends in the Heights neighborhood, where surveillance video shows him leaving McIntyre’s bar by West 19th Street.
Delano Burkes’ body was found Friday in the Houston Ship Channel, officials confirmed, about 12.5 miles away from where he was last seen alive: pic.twitter.com/yJa7jbTBoQ
— KHOU 11 News Houston (@KHOU) November 29, 2022
Missing Man’s Family Believes “Something Sinister” Happened To Him Upon Discovery Of His Body
He had reportedly been escorted from the bar, and was last seen stumbling across the street. Burkes’ family said he appeared to be in pain.
Other footage showed him wandering around the block shortly after 1 a.m.
Burkes’ mother, Karen Jeffrey, said the family believes “something sinister” happened to him.
“We believe it’s something sinister that happened with him. He did not look like he had control of his legs. It did not look like he was going to make it very far,” Burkes’ mother, Karen Jeffrey, said during a press conference last week, KTRK reported.
BREAKING: Body found Friday in water near Port of Houston is Delano Burkes, according to Harris County Medical Examiner. He’s been missing since Nov 13th after leaving a bar in the Heights. @houstonpolice homicide unit now leading the investigation @KHOU pic.twitter.com/HqIqpAIZfV
— Grace White (@GraceWhiteKHOU) November 28, 2022
Family Believes Delano Burkes Was Drugged At Houston Bar Before Disappearance, Death
His family added that it appeared Burkes had been drugged. While investigators said there is currently no evidence to suggest he had been drugged, they said they have not ruled it out as of yet.
Meanwhile, an autopsy will be performed on Burkes to determine his exact cause of death.
His mother went on to say that Burkes’ friends got in his car and headed home without him after he left the bar on his own.
Family had been handing out fliers with his picture in the neighborhood where he was last seen in an effort to locate him prior to Friday’s grisly discovery.
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 may be a lot of information that could help this family have closure, and comfort during this difficult time,” the Democrat said after Burkes’ death was confirmed, according to Fox 26 Houston. “We want to ask people to continue 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 had known him since age 13, the outlet reports.
“There’s no words to express the devastating, deep pain that I feel at this moment,” the young widow wrote on Instagram. “There’s so much life that was meant to live and so much love meant to give. You were the most gentle soul filled with strength and joy. Your smile carried me through my darkest moments and your humor got me through some of my lowest points.”
The case is still under investigation by the Houston Police Department’s homicide unit – which is utilized in cases for a missing person’s death.