Identifying Bodies From Oklahoma Lake Could Take Years

Identifying six bodies found at the bottom of Oklahoma’s Foss Lake could take years. The bodies were submerged inside two vintage cars and could solve two decades-old mysteries.

The Inquisitr reported this week that the cars were discovered by accident while the Oklahoma State Police trained with new sonar equipment at the murky lake near Elk City.

On Tuesday, NBC News reports that authorities pulled up two very rusty, very muddy cars — a blue 1969 Camaro and a green 1952 Chevrolet.

There are two sets of missing persons cases from that time period, making authorities believe that the vehicles and their occupants are likely related. In response, relatives of the six missing persons stepped forward to give DNA samples, hoping that the decades-old cases could soon be solved.

However, the remains found in the two waterlogged cars are so badly decomposed that it could take months or possible years to definitively identify all six sets of remains. CNN notes that the DNA testing will happen at the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

Custer County Sheriff Bruce Peoples believes the blue Camaro likely belonged to 16-year-old Jimmy Williams, a teen from Sayre who disappeared in 1970 along with two friends — Thomas Rios and Leah Johnson, both 18.

The teens went missing on November 20, 1970, just six days after Williams bought the popular muscle car. The trio was headed to a football game, but authorities wondered since their disappearance if they may have gone hunting near the lake before they went to the game. They disappeared and no evidence came forward to suggest where they may have gone.

The second car, a 1952 Chevy, could be the vehicle of 69-year-old John Alva Porter, who went missing on April 8, 1969 along with his sister Alrie Porter, and friend Nora Marie Duncan, 58. Porter’s granddaughter, Debbie McManaman, used to take her children to the Oklahoma lake where the bodies were found this week.

McManaman recalled that she and her kids used to wonder if grandpa was in the lake. She said, “Maybe that’s where he’s at.” However, the two cars, pointed in opposite directions 12 feet below the lake’s surface, remained undisturbed for decades. Darrell Splawn dove down to the site on Tuesday, where visibility was just four inches.

He discovered a shoe inside one car, so authorities attached a tow cable and pulled the cars to the bank. Splawn recalled, “It didn’t really cross my mind as to a body being in it. It could have been a shoe, but whenever we brought them up to the shore… you could see the skeletal remains in them.”

While DNA testing could solve the mysteries soon, it is more likely the identities of the remains found in Foss Lake will take months to determine.