Myrtle Beach man uses homemade sonar device to find sunken car in 40-year-old cold case

Myrtle Beach man uses homemade sonar device to find sunken car in 40-year-old cold case

A Myrtle Beach man used a homemade sonar device to find three missing men in a sunken car.

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – A Myrtle Beach man recently helped bring closure to three families after he used his sonar device to help find a sunken car, with human remains from three different men, in an Eastern North Carolina creek. Police said the car had been in the creek for over 40 years.

Jason Souhrada’s device doesn’t look like much as it’s just a waterproof box attached to a boogie board. Souhrada said he only spent a few hundred dollars on the device inside the box.

While Souhrada spends his days at Conway Medical Center as an X-ray technician, he uses his free time to follow different dive teams on YouTube and Facebook that search for missing people.

He said he was drawn to a cold case in Washington, North Carolina.

”I liked the sense of closure they provided families, and I just wanted to get involved,” Souhrada said.

According to police, Bill Clifton, David McMicken and Michael Norman were last seen at a bar on December 10, 1982. They were presumed dead, but police never found their bodies. Souhrada hoped his device could provide some answers.

Bill Clifton, David McMicken, & Michael Norman

Bill Clifton, David McMicken, & Michael Norman

“I saw a body of water that search teams weren’t looking into and I found out why, it’s because they can’t access it with boats, so that’s when I decided to take my boat up there and scan it. Sure enough, that’s where they were,” Souhrada explained.

Within 24 hours of launching his device, Souhrada said he found the men’s sunken car in Jack’s Creek, which is just about 4 hours away from Myrtle Beach. Souhrada said his device showed the car was in 12 to 15 feet of water.

Police were able to initiate recovery efforts. Once the car was out, police confirmed the remains belonged to the three missing men.


The remains of the car found in Jack's Creek in Washington, North Carolina.

The remains of the car found in Jack’s Creek in Washington, North Carolina.

”As far as I know it had been searched, but the one spot the car was in was so deep, maybe they just assumed the whole area was as shallow as 80% of the whole area,” said Souhrada, shocked that he was able to help.

Now, the families of the men finally have closure.

”About 18 family members there from all three men, and it was pretty overwhelming, the emotions they were going through that I was experiencing as well,” Souhrada remembered.

Now with one success, Souhrada is setting his sights back home in South Carolina on another case.

Tommy Brailey, 52, from Sumter vanished more than seven years ago. Authorities also believe his body may be in a car in a body of water near where he was last seen.

Souhrada has already been to Sumter once to search for Brailey, but said he wants to do some more research before he goes back with his device.

As far as additional cases, Souhrada said he is open to looking at cases within a few hours of Myrtle Beach.