Car yields cold case clues

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UNION CITY, South Dakota (KDLT) – A major clue has surfaced in case of South Dakota teenagers who disappeared 42 years ago.

Officials have pulled a car out of Brule Creek in Union County and have confirmed skeletal remains in the vehicle.

The attorney general’s office confirmed that the car is the one 17-year-old Cheryl Miller and Pamela Jackson were driving the night they disappeared, and while it appears some decade old questions may soon be answered, questions still remain.

After the car was pulled from the water a pair of blood hounds was used to sniff out the human remains. And even as new evidence surfaces from this decades old case, people who live around the area continue to speculate how the events unfolded that early summer night.

Police tape on a rural road is sure to draw in some curious onlookers especially when they know just feet away could be a major clue to a mystery that has stumped local law enforcement for nearly half a century.

One of those onlookers is Phillip Lerseth who lives just north of where the vehicle was found.

“Just nosey I guess. Just looking around, I live three miles north of here,” said Lerseth.

Another man came from Hawarden, Iowa and even snagged a peak of the overturned car early Tuesday morning.

“I tell you what, if you didn’t know it was car, you wouldn’t know it was a car.”

“Sounds the way it was buried in the mud, it’s been there a while, the way it looks to me,” said Lerseth.

Brule Creek is running exceptionally low in Union County and that’s one thing that helped uncover this important piece of evidence.

Since May 29th, 1971, there has been lots of speculation with the disappearance of Cheryl Miller and Pamela Jackson and for now people continue to guess about what happened that night.

“I thought maybe they came around the curve and missed the curve and went in the ditch.”

Tuesday, investigators flood the banks of the Brule Creek hoping to finally provide answers to the years of uncertainty and guessing.

“Forty two years ago, I was only 26 years old and I remember them looking for them and talking about it for quite a while. They were wondering what happened to them, whether they got kidnapped, whether they disappeared, ran away but, nobody knew. Now, they know what happened,” said Lerseth.

Investigators work slowly in rural Union County, digging up the biggest clue in a 40 year old mystery.

As for family of the missing teens searching for answers, Pamela Jackson’s father was laid to rest this weekend, he was 102.

No further information will be released until an autopsy is complete and family members are notified of the results.

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