Washington police confirm car found in creek linked to missing men

Washington police confirm car found in creek linked to missing men

VINs pulled from the remains match the 1975 Chevy Camaro that Bill Clifton, David McMicken, and Michael Norman were in.

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WITN) – Police now confirm that a car found this past weekend in Jack’s Creek is connected to three men missing for more than 40 years.

Washington Police & Fire Services Director Stacy Drakeford told WITN News this morning that vehicle identification numbers pulled from the remains match the 1975 Chevy Camaro that Bill Clifton, David McMicken, and Michael Norman were in. The three were last seen in a bar in Chocowinity on December 10th, 1982.

Police Chief Phil Rollinson said they are now seeing their hard work pay off.

“It is an interesting and amazing feeling honestly,” Rollinson said.

Woolard’s Automotive Owner Janet Woolard said they worked for over 36 hours to retrieve the car and helped search for the VIN. Woolard was shocked when they were able to find it.

“Mike took a screwdriver, a hammer, and a cleaner, and found the VIN, and he cleaned off the plate to find the number and read the numbers out to the license and theft people and the investigators, and they were able to confirm that is the correct number,” Woolard said.

According to Woolard, everything made of rubber in the car stayed intact including the steering wheel and four tires. Other parts of the car that remain intact include the car seats and back windshield.

The car was found on its top in 12-15 feet of water in Jack’s Creek.

A dive team and wrecker started the recovery process around 9:00 a.m. Friday. Diver Scotty Rose said it was initially hard to determine what he had recovered at the bottom of the creek.

“It took me a while to decide whether this was really a vehicle or whether it was an old lawnmower or what,” Rose said. “Then I started seeing features that resembled a Camaro.”

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.

DNA from the human remains will now be compared to living relatives of the men.

Police said 26 different local and state agencies assisted them with the recovery efforts.

William Clifton and his family.

William Clifton and his family.

Crews Saturday evening are getting closer to pulling a vehicle from an eastern Carolina creek

Crews Saturday evening are getting closer to pulling a vehicle from an eastern Carolina creek

This sonar image could show an upside down vehicle covered in mud on the bottom of the creek.

This sonar image could show an upside down vehicle covered in mud on the bottom of the creek.

Dive team members in Jack's Creek Friday morning.

Dive team members in Jack’s Creek Friday morning.

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