IDing Bodies Pulled From Okla. Lake Could Take Years

Though investigators are fairly certain one mystery has been solved
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2013 7:02 AM CDT
IDing Bodies Pulled From Okla. Lake Could Take Years
Three teens missing from Sayre, Okla., since Nov. 20, 1970. From left: Jimmy Allen Williams, Leah Gail Johnson and Thomas Michael Rios.   (AP Photo/Beckham County Sherrif's Departmemt via the Sayre Record)

(Newser) – Police may have gotten lucky when they accidentally spotted two cars in Oklahoma's murky Foss Lake, but identifying the six "badly decomposed" bodies in them won't be so simple, reports NBC News. It could be months or even years before positive IDs are made—even with the help of relatives' DNA. The state medical examiner's office is enlisting archaeologists to assist with the three skulls and body fragments found thus far. Even so, the discovery of a 1969 Camaro, just like the one three teens were driving when they went missing in 1970, has left investigators confident one case is already solved. And more details on the other are firming up.

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Police believe the second car is a green 1957 Chevy with three bodies inside—one of which may be Tim Porter's long-lost grandfather. He vanished while driving with his sister and her husband in 1969, reports KOKH. "Forty-something years of wondering who or why," says Porter. "If it is my grandfather in there, it's a gift." As to why it took so long to find the cars, the county sheriff tells the Tulsa World "this lake isn't crystal clear. It's a typical western Oklahoma lake with a lot of silt in it. The visibility is only 6 to 12 inches on a good day." The cars were found 12 feet below the surface using sonar equipment; click for more on the cold cases. (Read more missing person stories.)

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