(UNION COUNTY, S.D.) — Authorities have found skeletal remains in the 1960 Studebaker that was pulled from a South Dakota creek and tied them to a cold case from more than 40 years ago.
“Skeletal remains have been recovered as well as additional items. No further information will be released until a requested autopsy and further testing is complete and family members properly notified,” the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.
Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson, both 17, were last seen in Union County, S.D., on their way to a party on May 29, 1971. They were driving a beige Studebaker Lark that officials believe belonged to one of the grandfather of one of the girls.
Now, 42 years later, it appears that the Studebaker has turned up.
Officials said pieces of evidence taken from the site of the recovered car had been “processed,” and “items of potential evidentiary significance have been preserved” but did not elaborate further.
“A fisherman or hunter noticed a wheel in a small creek area, or embankment, in Union County, S.D.,” Sara Rabern, spokeswoman for the South Dakota Office of the Attorney General, told ABC News. “He contacted the sheriff.”
“The division of criminal investigation was called in and they were able to determine that the license plate belonged to one of the missing girls’ grandfather,” Rabern said.
It is unknown at this time why the car had not been spotted before, but Rabern said there were historically low water levels this year, which may have helped.
Relatives of the two teenagers have been notified about the car.
“The police department called to let us know before the news came out,” a relative of Pamella Jackson told ABC News, asking that he not be identified by name because the family did not yet want to make a formal statement. “They just said they found the car. We know for sure it’s the car because the license plates are still on it.”
“We’re kind of surprised that they found it, but we’re happy,” the relative said. “It’s one more piece of the puzzle.”
Jackson’s father recently died and the family received the news of the car just days after his burial.
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