WASHINGTON, N.C. (WITN) – Police in Washington say they are confident that human remains in a car pulled out of a creek over the weekend belong to three missing men.
Bill Clifton, David McMicken, and Michael Norman were last seen in a bar in Chocowinity on December 10th, 1982.
Police say all vehicle parts are consistent with a 1975 Chevrolet Camaro, the car in which the three men were in that night.
The car was found on its top in 12-15 feet of water in Jack’s Creek.
“Based on what I’ve seen and what we’re looking at now I’m confident that yes it is the individuals from 1982,” says Police Chief Phil Rollingson. “DNA testing will take some time but the forensic anthropologist that was here was pretty confident that we would be able to get a DNA sample from the remains that were recovered.”
Rollinson says at this point they are not sure how many bodies were recovered.
A dive team and wrecker started the recovery process around 9:00 a.m. Friday.
A news release said divers found the car around 10:45 a.m. in poor condition, with only the drivetrain and some frame remaining. It said during an initial search, potential human remains were found and brought to the surface.
A forensic anthropologist with the State Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the remains were human.
The car’s rear axle was pulled up Friday afternoon, and then authorities decided to begin pumping water from the area to better access the vehicle.
Once the water was removed, a search found even more human remains. All the remains were sent to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Greenville, according to police.
Police were led to Jack’s Creek after a Myrtle Beach man constructed a small floatable device with sonar. Jason Souhrada last month began checking areas where boats couldn’t access that were along the possible route home for the three men.
Souhrada said his goal was to be able to help provide closure to families and family members believe he did just that.
Police said 26 different local and state agencies assisted them with the recovery efforts.