1975 Camaro Found in Creek Linked to Case of 3 Missing Men

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A 1975 Chevrolet Camaro, recently uncovered in Jack’s Creek in Washington, North Carolina, provides pivotal information in a perplexing case that dates back to the early 1980s.

In late 1982, three men—William Clifton, 30, David McMicken, 24, and Michael Norman, 32—mysteriously disappeared after a social gathering in Chocowinity, North Carolina. The last known sighting of the men was in a vehicle resembling the recently discovered Camaro.

The Camaro’s discovery was facilitated by Jason Souhrada, a South Carolina resident intrigued by the case. Utilizing state-of-the-art sonar equipment, Souhrada embarked on a mission to locate the missing men, hoping to provide some peace for their families.

Souhrada used a sonar-equipped boogie board to scan parts of the creek that were otherwise unreachable. He detected a possible submerged vehicle, prompting local law enforcement agencies—including the Washington Police, Sidney Dive Team, Highway Patrol, and the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office—to focus their resources on an area of the creek at the crossroads of N. Harvey and E. 5th Streets.

The car was found 12 to 15 feet below the surface and in a deteriorated state, indicating it had likely been underwater since the men’s disappearance.

An intricate recovery operation began on Friday, February 9, 2024, with a dive team and a wrecker service in place. By mid-morning, divers had located the car, but it took nearly two days of intensive effort to extract it from the water.

The car’s identification was confirmed through its VIN, officially linking the vehicle to the longstanding cold case. Additionally, a forensic anthropologist confirmed the recovery of human remains, marking a significant step forward in the investigation.

Authorities are conducting DNA tests on the remains to verify their identities. The North Carolina Office of the State Medical Examiner has also confirmed their human origin. Based on the vehicle’s identification and forensic evidence, Washington Police Chief Phil L. Rollinson expressed confidence that the remains are those of Clifton, McMicken, and Norman.

The development has stirred emotions among the affected families, providing a somber sense of closure. Bill Clifton’s daughter, Lea Rose, and his widow, Wilda Carver, were observed looking through old family photos, recalling memories with Clifton.

Rose remembered the night her father disappeared. “After a family trip to see Santa Claus and the Christmas lights, my dad went out with his friends. Sadly, he never came back,” she said.

David McMicken’s daughter, Kayla Melendres, recounted her emotional response to the car’s recovery. “Seeing the car brought on a rush of emotions. That’s when it really hit me,” she stated.

Resolution of the case has been a joint effort, with 26 local and state agencies participating in the recovery. This level of community involvement underscores a persistent pursuit of closure and justice in missing persons cases.

As the investigation continues and DNA results are pending, the families of Clifton, McMicken, and Norman are anxiously awaiting the final confirmation of the remains’ identities.

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