Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson, of Vermillion, South Dakota, were last seen driving to a party before their disappearance in May 1971. Their whereabouts were unknown until a set of bones were discovered in a submerged car last year in South Dakota. Authorities suggested the possibility that Cheryl and Pamella may have died in that car accident. According to The Daily News, they revealed this afternoon that the bones discovered inside the 1960 Studebaker Lark were the remains of Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson.
The car remained hidden since 1971, but the area experienced record flooding that was followed by a drought. These weather changes allowed the corroded Studebaker to become visible. A fisherman, who recalled the 42-year-old disappearance, called the police after he saw a wheel from the wreck sticking out of the creek. More than four decades later, the case of the 1971 disappearance of the two women has been officially closed. The authorities reported the disappearance was not a case of foul play. The 1971 disappearance was the result of a car accident. The authorities also do not believe that alcohol was a factor in the accident.
The vehicle was shifted into third gear. According to USA Today, Attorney General Marty Jackley stated that this was the reason no foul play was suspected. The lights were on when the accident occurred and the skeletons of the two women were in the cabin of the vehicle, not in the trunk. The car’s keys were found in the ignition. A tire on the Studebaker was damaged. Cheryl’s purse, which included her driver’s license she carried in 1971 as well as photos and notes from her classmates, was also discovered at the site of the accident from 1971.
The Attorney General reportedly stated, “I think it’s fair to say that law enforcement and the families never quit searching.” The families of the girls from the 1971 disappearance case were present for the announcement, but declined to speak to the media. They issued a very brief statement saying only that their journey is done.
Last fall, in a public statement, Miller’s family said, “We’re hoping this leads to our much desired and overdue closure.” According to the Daily Mail, a man who was already serving a prison sentence was indicted for murder in association with the 1971 disappearance of Miller and Jackson. Those charges were dropped after the prosecutor discovered that the confession was faked. That man, David Lykken, is already in prison serving a 227-year sentence for rape and kidnapping unrelated to the 1971 disappearance case.