Vehicle of Missing College Student Found in Creek with Skeletal Remains Inside

Decades after 22-year-old Auburn University student Kyle Clinkscales went missing in 1976, authorities pulled his car from an Alabama creek

Kyle Clinkscales missing person case
Photo: Troup County Sheriff's Office Facebook

Authorities say they've found the car of a missing Alabama college student, who disappeared in 1976.

A vehicle belonging to Kyle Clinkscales, a 22-year-old Auburn University student — who was last seen in January 1976 — was pulled from a creek in Chambers County, Alabama, the Troup County Sheriff's Office shared in a Wednesday news release.

Clinkscales had been traveling from LaGrange, Georgia, back to Auburn University the night of Jan. 27, 1976, but never made it back to school, the Sheriff's Office stated. For 45 years, neither he nor his vehicle — a white 1974 Pinto Runabout — could be found.

Investigators finally found a lead in the cold case on Tuesday. Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff said during a Wednesday news conference that a man called 911 after spotting a car in a Chambers County creek, per ABC News.

After deputies from the Chambers County Sheriff's Office arrived at the creek, they pulled the vehicle from the water and determined it was an "older model Ford passenger car with a 1976 Georgia tag with a Troup County decal," per the Wednesday release.

Skeletal remains were also found in the vehicle, plus an ID and credit cards belonging to Clinkscales, Woodruff said during the news conference, per ABC. The sheriff explained that the skeletal remains have not been identified and are under examination by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).

Kyle Clinkscales missing person case
Troup County Sheriff's Office Facebook

Investigators matched the car to the vehicle Clinkscales had been driving that night in 1976 by sending the tag to the Troup County Sheriff's Office, who found that both the Georgia tag and the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the car in the creek lined up with the 1974 Ford Pinto Runabout, per the Troup County Sheriff's Office release.

Clinkscales' car is being processed by GBI Special Agents after being brought from the creek and to the Troup County Sheriff's Office, according to the news release.

During Wednesday's conference, Woodruff shared that Clinkscales' parents are no longer alive, and that he wished Clinkscales' mom — who died in January — had been able to witness the latest break in the case.

"Just the fact that we have hopefully found him and the car brings me a big sigh of relief," he said, per ABC.

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