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DNA tests solve 40-year-old Oklahoma mystery

On Thursday, officials confirmed that two separate missing persons cases were solved when DNA results positively identified two groups of remains found in two submerged cars in Sayre, OK. In September of 2013 police found the bodies of six people, three in a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro and three a 1952 model Chevrolet, while testing sonar equipment in Oklahoma’s Foss Lake.

According to CNN, the remains in the 1952 model Chevrolet matched the sex and ages of three passengers who vanished in 1969: Cleburn Hammack, 42, Nora Marie Duncan, 58, and John Alva Porter, 69. None of the bodies showed signs of trauma when they were examined by the medical examiner.

The bodies pulled from the 1969 Chevy Camaro corresponded to the descriptions of three teenagers who disappeared in 1970: Jimmy Allen Williams, 16, Leah Gail Johnson, 18, and Thomas Michael Rios, 18.

According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, Jimmy, Leah, and Thomas were last seen in Williams’ Camaro on their way to a football game in Elk City on November 20th, 1970.   In October 2013, police reported that the Camaro showed signs that it was involved in an accident.  Damage to the radiator fan, a motor mount, and the fuel pump was caused by the impact when it hit the water, suggesting that the car was running when it hit the water.

The medical examiner’s office announced this week that the results from DNA tests connected the bodies to the people who went missing. The cause of death for all six people was drowning, and all the deaths were ruled accidental.


Fantz, A. (2014). Oklahoma cases solved: DNA tests show Foss Lake remains are 6 missing people. Retrieved on October 24, 2014 from:

Letsch, C. (2014). DNA results match two different groups who went missing in Oklahoma. Retrieved on October 24, 2014 from:


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