Vehicle belonging to Auburn University The remains of a student, who disappeared nearly 46 years back, were found in an Alabama creek. This could end a decade-long hunt.

But the discovery of the muddy 1974 Ford Pinto didn’t immediately solve the mystery of what happened to Kyle Clinkscales, 22. On the evening of January 27, 1976, he was last seen leaving his home in LaGrange, Georgia to return to Alabama. He never made it to campus and investigators for years pursued a theory that he’d been murdered.

“For 45 years we’ve looked for this young man and looked for this car. And we’ve drained lakes and we’ve looked here and looked there,” Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff said at a news conference Wednesday of the discovery that he said brought a “big sigh of relief.”

Kyle Clinkscales (22) was last seen January 27, 1976. The vehicle and his identification were discovered submerged in the creek Wednesday. This could have ended a decade-long search.
Troup County Sheriff

A 1974 Ford Pinto Runabout in bad condition was pulled from the river by an Alabama passerby on Wednesday.

The old car’s roof was gone, apparently peeled away by the creek’s current. Inside were bones that appeared to be human, as well as a wallet that contained Clinkscales’ identification and credit cards.

Clinkscales was driving the vehicle identified number. Authorities believe that a nearby road could have run along the route from LaGrange to Auburn.

This 1974 Ford Pinto was pulled from a creek near a road that Clinkscales may have taken while driving back to Auburn University from LaGrange, Georgia, authorities said.
Clinkscales, who was driving from LaGrange to Auburn University, may have driven this 1974 Ford Pinto, according to authorities.
Troup County Sheriff

However, it is not known what exactly happened to the car. Woodruff stated that it is possible for the driver to have wandered onto the road or into the creek by accident.

There could also have been foul play.

Investigators were first employed in 2005. arrested a man they suspected was involved in Clinkscales’ death. They said the suspect recounted a conversation with another man, who claimed to have shot Clinkscales, hid the remains in a lake, then moved the body to “another location where no one would ever find him,” the then-sheriff said at the time.

He was later found guilty of lying to the police. He also died years prior to identifying the victim as his killer. according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Woodruff declined to comment on that earlier investigation, saying he wasn’t sheriff at the time. Woodruff said that closer inspection of bones might shed some light on the circumstances.

“We are glad today,” said Woodruff. “You know Ms. Clinkscales, his mother, died just this year in January, and it was always her hope that he would come home. Our hope was that we would be able to find him before his mother died. Just the fact that we have hopefully found him and the car brings me a big sigh of relief.”

Clinkscales had been an only child. In 2007, his father passed away.

Louise Clinkscales, who died earlier this year, holds a photo of her son Kyle Clinkscales who went missing in 1976.
Louise Clinkscales passed away earlier in the year. A photo of Kyle Clinkscales is on her wall. Kyle disappeared in 1976.
via Associated Press

Source: HuffPost.com.

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