Headless Body Discovered in South Texas Still Unsolved

Headless, that’s how Jubal Alexander was found. Sitting in his blue Chevy pickup, parked underneath a bridge near a boat ramp in Brazoria County, he hadn’t been heard from since April 27, local news reported. Even though he worked overnights as a pipe cutter at a local chemical plant, the 24-year-old Port Arthur resident had been homeless and often slept in his truck during the day.

A fisherman, who works as a Galveston police officer, found his headless body on May 3. He’d just returned from spending the day fishing and noticed Alexander’s blue Chevy pickup hadn’t moved since early that morning. Brazoria County Sheriff deputies responded, searched the area extensively but couldn’t locate Alexander’s head. A fingerprint analysis led to Alexander’s identification.

It’s been a couple of weeks since Alexander’s headless body was found in his pickup under a bridge, and still unclear exactly who beheaded him and whether the killer used a samurai sword, a machete or a chainsaw. The Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office didn’t return calls for comment.

Friends and family told reporters that Alexander’s wallet, along with his guitar, was found inside his pickup with cash inside.

Alexander’s father, also named Jubal, took to Facebook on May 17 to ask the social media community to help him locate his son’s killer(s) by sharing his story.

In the comments that followed the Facebook post, Alexander’s father told friends that his son’s case is very difficult for the Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office because he didn’t run in gangs and avoided drugs. He also recently submitted to a hair follicle test, his father says, to land his job as a pipe cutter at the local chemical plant.

He’d been following in his father’s footsteps working at chemical plants across Texas, according to a local news report. They’d just had dinner days before Alexander’s murder. “They cut my son’s head off and took my son’s head,” his father said not long after discovering his son’s fate. “Who would do that? [...] I couldn’t even see my son. They wouldn’t let me see him.”

On his Facebook page, Alexander’s father posts a picture of him with his arm around his son. They were both wearing work clothes and breathing masks over the mouths and noses. His son was born on Father’s Day, and he always considered him “a gift from God.” On May 13, he posted about his son’s death:

“He was murdered in a terroristic way, in a way that is indicative to ISIS,” he wrote. “They cut his head off and took it. I believe it was Islamic Extremists. [..] We should not live in a country where our children and families’ heads are cut off. [...] Please take a stand against extreme Islam.”

ISIS has been known to cut off a few heads from time-to-time. But in South Texas, it's more likely either the work of El Muerto, the headless horseman of South Texas, or the Mexican cartels like the Los Zetas who haves been beheading its enemies, local news reported, ever since a video of Middle Eastern terrorists beheading their victims on YouTube several years ago. 

For those of you unfamiliar with the headless horseman of South Texas, his legend began in the 1800s when William Alexander "Big Foot" Wallace, a Texas Ranger, beheaded a cattle rustler known simply as "Vidal," strapped him firmly into a saddle on the back of a mustang, tied the outlaw's hands to the pommel, which secured his headless body upright, and then attached Vidal's head with a sombrero to the saddle with a strip of rawhide. He turned the horse loose and, according to legend, it still wanders the remote country of South Texas with its terrible burden strapped to its saddle.

Supernatural or not, beheadings are oddly not that unusual way down south.

For example, in January, a U.S. Border Patrol agent was indicted on capital murder and other charges for helping behead a South Texas man from Honduras. A fisherman had also discovered the South Texas man's headless body, local news reported. This time, he was floating in the Gulf waters near South Padre Island instead of sitting in a blue Chevy pickup under a bridge. The murder was tied to to the Gulf Cartel, a drug trafficking mafia controlling much of Mexican territory just south of South Texas.  

Then, in early April, a war between two factions of the Los Zetas, “the most technologically advanced, sophisticated and dangerous cartel operating in Mexico,” the U.S. government reports, left behind five severed heads, three of which were found in a Styrofoam ice cooler in front of an elementary school south of the Texas border.

The day before the three heads were found outside the elementary school, two other severed heads were found in an ice chest near a rural community, local news reported. The warring faction claimed they belonged to two cartel lookouts stationed at strategic points along main roadways to serve as the eyes and ears of the cartel.

“These guys are copying the methods of al Qaida,” Jorge Chabat, a criminal justice expert at the Center for Research and Teaching of Economics in Mexico City, told McClatchyDC.

A security consultant from Monterrey claimed, “Dissolving the bodies in acid didn’t bring [the cartels] the same spectacular results.”

Whatever happened to Alexander in his blue Chevy pickup under the bridge near Houston, his father simply wants people to share his story and come forward with information to help bring his killer or killers to justice.

“What I am needing is communal support to spread the word so it's hard [for the killer or killers] to hide,” he posted on Facebook. “Maybe someone seen something…”

“I always felt he was a gift to me from God,” he added. “It hurts so bad they have my sons head! We should not have to live in fear like this!” 
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Christian McPhate is an award-winning journalist who specializes in investigative reporting. He covers crime, the environment, business, government and social justice. His work has appeared in several publications, including the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the Miami Herald, San Antonio Express News and The Washington Times.