Even With Car's Discovery, Cold Case May Go Unsolved

DNA testing of remains under way

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 26, 2013 8:55 AM CDT

(Newser) – South Dakota police now have a 1960 Studebaker Lark and "skeletal remains" tied to a 1971 cold case. What they may never have is full resolution. There are strong indications that the car found in a creek on Monday is the one Pam Jackson and Cheryl Miller were in when they went missing (the license plate matches), and DNA testing now under way should clarify whose remains are in the car, reports Fox News. But the Argus Leader reports that whether their death was criminal or accidental may never be known.

A forensic pathologist tells the paper that because the remains are skeletal, the bones are all authorities have to work with, so the only clue will be bone damage. But if such damage is present, it may be near impossible to determine whether the injury was sustained in the crash or during a crime. Though "no further information will be released until a requested autopsy and further testing is complete," relatives of the girls, who went missing at age 17, say the find is a relief. "We're kind of surprised that they found it, but we're happy," one told ABC News. "It's one more piece of the puzzle." Click for more on the cold case.

This photo from the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office shows a Studebaker with skeletal remains found in Brule Creek near Elk Point, S.D.
This photo from the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office shows a Studebaker with skeletal remains found in Brule Creek near Elk Point, S.D.   (AP Photo/South Dakota Attorney General’s Office)
A license plate matching Miller's grandfather's car is visible on a Studebaker found in a South Dakota creek.
A license plate matching Miller's grandfather's car is visible on a Studebaker found in a South Dakota creek.   (AP Photo/South Dakota Attorney General’s Office)
Crews work to excavate a vehicle from an embankment near Beresford, S.D., on Monday, Sept. 23, 2013.
Crews work to excavate a vehicle from an embankment near Beresford, S.D., on Monday, Sept. 23, 2013.   (AP Photo/Argus Leader, Joe Ahlquist)
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