The 1971 disappearance of two teenage girls from Vermillion, South Dakota hasn’t been on the public radar for more than 40 years. After all, even the families of the two girls would have given up after not hearing anything for more than four decades. Now those same family members may be able to find closure if remains found this month indeed belonged to the girls.
News 4 KTIV is reporting that South Dakota authorities have scheduled a press conference for this afternoon in which they will discuss remains found last year. The remains were found in a Studebaker pulled from a creek after flooding followed by a drought unveiled the decades-old car. The remains were consistent with the story of how the two girls, Pam Jackson and Cheryl Miller, disappeared in 1971 after leaving for a party in the same car. Not wanting to leave anything up to chance, however, the authorities had the remains examined by forensic experts at the University of North Texas.
Generally speaking, the family and authorities assume foul play when persons have been missing for this long. That appears to not have been the case in this particular incident though. The authorities report that the car was in third gear when it was recovered from the creek. In other words, the missing girls were likely involved in a tragic car accident that left them at the bottom of a creek. Of course, we can’t know for sure until the authorities release the forensic results. The remains could even belong to somebody else entirely, but all evidence at this point points to the remains belonging to the two girls.
Here’s raw video of the car after it was pulled from the creek bed. The visible damage makes it appear that whoever was in the vehicle did not live after impact:
If you want more details on the original case, here’s a TomoNews reenactment of the night the two girls vanished and the subsequent discovery of the car:
Update: Argus Leader Crime Reporter John Hult was at the press conference where the authorities announced that the two girls died in a car accident. There was no evidence of foul play or alcohol:
Image via TomoNews US/YouTube