• Thu. Nov 24th, 2022

Missing 34-year-old man presumed dead after search of Texas home, search warrant says

ByRobin H. Purcell

Nov 24, 2022

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Justin Haden, 34, has been missing since Nov. 1. The Austin Police Department said in a press release he was last seen near his north Austin home. Haden is now presumed dead after a search of his home, according to an APD search warrant affidavit.

On the morning of November 4, Haden’s attorney called APD to request a welfare check because he or Haden’s family had not heard from Haden in three days. His attorney said Haden lived alone, was not suicidal and did not own a vehicle, the search affidavit states.

APD went to the apartment and had a property manager open the door after no one answered. No one was in the apartment, but police found “red wine stains” on the wall next to a bed, according to the search warrant.

Haden’s father reported him missing on Nov. 7 and then hired a private investigator to help find his son, the search warrant said.

The investigator went into the apartment and saw the stains on the wall but suspected it could be blood. He pulled back the sheets on the bed and found a large area of ​​reddish-brown stains on the mattress that ran down the side of the bed to the floor, the search warrant said.

He reported the find to APD and suspected that a violent crime had been committed in the apartment. APD went back to the apartment to investigate and gather more evidence. The substance on the bed tested positive as human blood, according to the search warrant.

KXAN reached out to APD Wednesday for more details on the case. APD said: “This is still an active investigation and details are limited at this time.”

Surveillance footage and cellphone recordings show Haden was with another man identified as Gavin Roberts, 26, on the day he was last seen, the warrant said.

According to the search warrant, CCTV showed Roberts leaving Haden’s apartment on the afternoon of November 1, carrying two large white garbage bags in one hand and what appeared to be a cardboard box and crumpled brown paper in the other. He was again seen leaving Haden’s apartment, this time with a large blue plastic bin with what appeared to be a large black duffel bag on top. Roberts seemed to have trouble pulling the tote and bag.

About an hour later, CCTV showed a rear-bumped sedan driving with the trunk open in the apartment complex’s parking garage. A large blue plastic bag held the trunk open. It appeared to be the same size, shape, and color as the Roberts drugstore bag from Haden’s apartment.

Investigators identified the last people Haden had contact with and that Roberts is the registered owner of the sedan.

Surveillance video showed Roberts and his vehicle at a McDonald’s in Jarrell on the evening of November 1, with the tote bag still holding the trunk open.

On November 10, the vehicle was caught by surveillance with the trunk closed in the Highland Lanes parking lot on Burnet Road in Austin.

Police believe Roberts committed the felony of manipulating a human corpse, which is a second-degree felony, the search affidavit said. An arrest warrant was issued against him.

Court records show Haden was previously arrested for child sexual assault but convicted on a lesser charge.

We have contacted his attorney but have not heard anything.