Human Remains Found in Car Linked to SD Cold Case

After hours of work Monday night and Tuesday, a car that may contain clues to the 1971 disappearance of two missing Vermillion teens is in police possession. It's what they found in the car that is the biggest discovery.
Cheryl Miller and Pamela Jackson were last seen driving to a gravel pit where they were going to join a party in May of 1971. Tuesday night, investigators finally removed the car from a creek, and they found bones.
Despite numerous searches over the years, it wasn't until Monday morning that a man stumbled across the car they were last seen driving upside down in Brule Creek just North of Spink, South Dakota.
But the process was grueling, investigators spent hours digging around the car and picking out what's inside including human remains and other items.

Meanwhile, neighbors and community members watched and waited.

"I heard at coffee that the mother and the father of one of the girls was here yesterday. So, It'll give them some closure any how knowing where she's at and they can take her home and have a funeral or whatever they want to do," said Harley Salberg of Beresford, South Dakota.
The car was found Monday when someone walking by saw tires sticking out. The license plate on the car matched the one that was on the Studebaker Lark the two girls were last seen driving to a party at a nearby gravel pit.
James Haneklaus lives just a couple hundred feet from the pit and says almost every year, Pollman Excavation drains water out of the pit and straight into the creek.

"The pump is over that way, probably right over there and there's a tan panel and that's where we turn on the pump and is actually coming out of the water and we pump it out of there. That actually holds the beginning of the pipes and so that way we can suck it all in to the pipe and then pump it into the creek," explained Haneklaus.

It pumps 10,000 gallons of water out per minute and Haneklaus thinks the force of the water may have something to do with the sudden appearance of the car.

"I think it got dug up a little bit under the car so they could find it and when they fixed the bridge too, underneath the bridge I think that may have had a little to do with," he said.

The car is being stowed away for now in case it needs to be tested for more evidence. The human remains and other items are being taken to a lab in Sioux Falls where technicians will test them to recover any DNA.

The investigation is ongoing and Union County Sheriff Dan Limoges says he wants to focus on the facts instead of speculating about what happened for now.

No word yet on when the DNA results we'll be finished.