US officials believe the discovery of human remains in a car at the bottom of an Alabama creek has solved the mystery of a student who went missing 45 years ago.
In 1976, Kyle Wade Clinkscales left LaGrange, Georgia, to drive back to Auburn in Alabama, but never arrived.
The disappearance of the 22-year-old and his 1974 Pinto has never been solved.
But on Tuesday a member of the public spotted the car submerged in the creek.
After pulling the vehicle out, investigators confirmed that the car belonged to Clinkscales.
They found what appeared to be human bones along with identification and credit cards belonging to the missing man, Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff told a news conference.
“For 45 years, we’ve looked for this young man and looked for this car,” he said.
“We’ve drained lakes, and we’ve looked here and looked there and ran this theory down and that theory down and, it’s always turned out nothing.”
Tests are now under way to confirm that the remains belong to Clinkscales.
Police had previously stated that they believed the student had been killed.
In 2005, two people were arrested for making false statements after the missing man’s parents received a call from someone claiming to have seen people disposing of their son’s body at around the time of his disappearance.
Police still hold out hope of solving how Clinkscales died.
“Was he murdered and left there? Did he run off the road and wreck there? That’s something we hope to discover, but it’s been 45 years,” Mr Woodruff said.
Clinkscales was an only child. His father died in 2007, and his mother died this year.
“It was always her hope that he would come home,” Mr Woodruff said.
“It was always our hope that we would find him for her before she passed away. Just the fact that we have hopefully found him and the car brings me a big sigh of relief.”
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