A South Dakota cold case appears to have finally been solved after almost 43 years. Authorities say the bodies of two 17-year-old girls who disappeared without a trace have now been found.
"Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson vanished on their way to a party back in 1971. A car was found in a creek after the water levels dropped. Investigators believe that it belonged to one of the victims' grandfathers." (Via ABC)
The car, discovered last fall, contained two sets of remains, which were sent off for testing. Tuesday, after months of investigation, the state's attorney general announced the remains did in fact belong to the girls, and the cause of death was a car accident. (Via KMEG)
"To start with, the forensic pathology and anthropology reports indicate that there's no type of injury that would be consistent or caused by foul play or inappropriate conduct." (Via KDLT)
The girls' families reportedly attended the press conference but didn't speak to reporters.
Authorities had long suspected foul play, even indicting a man back in 2007 before the charges were dropped. (Via Argus Leader)
The only remaining mystery is how the car was overlooked for so long, given that it was submerged near a bridge that's inspected every two years.
One explanation, according to the Sioux City Journal, is that a submerged car simply wouldn't look out of place in the area. "Decades ago, landowners would put old cars, farm machinery and other items along the banks to slow erosion. Seeing a wheel or car axle sticking out of a creek bank wouldn't necessarily set off alarms about possible foul play."
The girls' remains will finally be returned to their families for burial.