ELK CITY, Okla. - A Camaro connected to the 1970 disappearance of three teens that was recovered from an Oklahoma lake shows signs of an accident, while a second car connected to another case appears not to have been in a wreck, a state trooper said.
The Camaro and another Chevrolet missing since 1969 were recovered last week after troopers testing sonar equipment detected them near a boat ramp at Foss Lake. Police believe they have solved two missing-persons cases involving a total of six people. The state medical examiner's office is attempting to determine identities.
Trooper George Hoyle told the Daily Elk Citian newspaper that the Camaro was running when it entered the lake and the impact damaged the radiator fan, a motor mount, the drive shaft and the fuel pump. He said the evidence suggests foul play was not involved in the teenagers' disappearance and that the driver was possibly unfamiliar with his surroundings.
"One scenario is the driver didn't know where he was at," Hoyle said. "He was driving a little faster than he should have. He ended up striking the water, which was a pretty good impact to the undercarriage of the vehicle."
The mud-caked 1969 Camaro is believed to be that of Jimmy Allen Williams, who disappeared from Sayre Nov. 20, 1970, after telling family members he was going with two other teenagers to a football game in Elk City.
The 1952 Chevrolet that was recovered is believed to be that which carried a Canute woman plus two men from Elk City and Sayre to their deaths. Hoyle said it appeared that car was not in an accident.
"It most likely rolled into the water," Hoyle told the newspaper. "It had no engine damage and no undercarriage damage at all. We did find a wheel well that was damage, but it was old damage."
The Chevrolets, which entered the water about a year apart, were found side-by-side in water about 12 feet deep and about 50 feet from the end of the ramp.