Teens missing since 1971 mystery
The discovery of a 1960 Studebaker in a South Dakota creek could be the missing piece to a mysterious cold case from more than 40 years ago.
Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson, both 17, were last seen in Union County, South Dakota, on their way to a party on May 29, 1971. They were driving a beige Studebaker Lark that officials believe belonged to one of the girls' grandfather.
Now, 42 years later, it appears that the Studebaker has turned up.
"A fisherman or hunter noticed a wheel in a small creek area, or embankment, in Union County, South Dakota," Sara Rabern, spokeswoman for the South Dakota Office of the Attorney General, told ABCNews.com today. "He contacted the sheriff."
She described the operation to recover the car as "pretty delicate" due to the car's condition and said authorities are still working on pulling it out of the creek.
"The police department called to let us know before the news came out," a relative of Pamella Jackson told ABCNews.com, asking that he not be identified by name because the family did not yet want to make a formal statement. "They just said they found the car. We know for sure it's the car because the license plates are still on it."
The relative said authorities had not provided the family with any additional information.
"We're kind of surprised that they found it, but we're happy," the relative said. "It's one more piece of the puzzle."
The case has had a tumultuous history. On two separate occasions, two men serving prison sentences for unrelated charges were indicted in the murders of the girls, but both times the charges were dropped when supposed admissions to other inmates turned out to be fake, according to the Associated Press.
In September 2004, a search of a Union County farm led to the discovery of bones, clothing, a purse, photos and other items, but not the car, the AP reported.