Tags: foss | lake | skeletons | bodies | cars

Foss Lake Skeletons: 5 Bodies Found in 2 Cars Submerged for Decades

Wednesday, 18 Sep 2013 09:15 AM

By Michael Mullins

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The remains of five people were found inside two cars that were at the bottom of Oklahoma's Foss Lake on Tuesday.

Authorities believe the skeletons belonged to people who had gone missing decades ago in two separate cold cases. One vehicle appear to match a Camaro missing with three Sayre teenagers since 1970 and the other appears to be an older Chevrolet with two Canute residents that have been missing since the late 1950s or early 1960s.

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The cars were discovered accidentally last week, during a training exercise in which the Oklahoma Highway Patrol's dive team was testing sonar equipment, department spokeswoman Betsy Randolph told the Associated Press.

"So they went back and did a scheduled dive today and were going to recover the cars. When they pulled the cars out of the water, the first one that came out they found bones in the car," Randolph said.

Authorities found another batch of bones in the second car they pulled from the water. Divers also reportedly recovered a skull and more bones at the bottom of the lake.

The three bodies found in the Camaro are believed to belong to teens who went out for a drive in the area in 1970 and subsequently went missing, according to Custer County Sheriff Bruce Peoples, but their bodies haven't been positively identified. 

"The decomposed nature of the cars makes it difficult to positively identify here at the scene," Peoples told Oklahoma's Own News 9.

The remains were subsequently turned over to the medical examiner's office.

"We're hoping [by finding] these individuals, that this is going to bring some sort of closure to some families out there who have been waiting to hear about missing people," Randolph added. "If that's the case, then we're thrilled we were able to bring some sort of closure to those families."

One of those hoping for closure is Kim Carmichael, a friend of then 16-year-old Jimmy Williams who had gone missing and was reportedly the registered owner of the Camaro.

"I just remember how devastated everybody was," Carmichael told Oklahoma's Own News 9. "We lived in a little town. . . Nothing like that ever happened in Sayre."

Carmichael recalled how at the time, her father, who was the undersheriff in nearby Beckham County, had told her that "there were no leads, no nothing. It was just like they vanished into thin air."

Michael Rios and Leah Johnson, both 18, were believed to have been with Williams in the car when the three went missing four decades ago.

The State Medical Examiner will use DNA from surviving family members to positively identify the skeletons, Oklahoma's Own News 9 reported.

The second car was a 1950 model Chevy that is believed to have been involved in a missing person case involving three individuals from Washita County, according to deputies.

It is unknown whether foul play was involved in either incident.

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