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Oklahoma bodies found in lake: Cold cases solved in Foss Lake, brother shocked

The Oklahoma bodies found in a lake are cold cases from 1969 and 1970. Six bodies were found in Foss Lake in western Oklahoma. While the closure of two cold cases and the discovery of the body of 16-year-old Jimmy Allen Williams is finally bringing answers to the teen’s family, Jimmy’s younger brother says that he and his family members are shocked that for more than 40 years, the remains of his missing brother had been only feet away from where he regularly offloaded his boat at Foss Lake for the past years, reported Enid News on Aug. 9.

Oklahoma bodies found in lake: Cold cases discovery shocks family members
Oklahoma bodies found in lake: Cold cases discovery shocks family membersVideo Screenshot

Jimmy Allen Williams was 16 years old when he vanished on Nov. 20, 1970. He had told family members in Sayre that he and two others, 18-year-old Thomas Michael Rios and 18-year-old Leah Gail Johnson, were going to a football game in Elk City. After Nov. 20, 12-year-old Gary Williams never heard from his older brother Jimmy again.

On Friday, the state medical examiner announced that one of six remains found at the bottom of Foss Lake in western Oklahoma was that of Gary’s older brother. Jimmy’s remains were found last September in a mud-caked 1969 Chevrolet Camaro "along with brown cowboy boots, a Sayre bank card, and a 1972 gold colored Sayre High Eagles ring," reported the Associated Press via Enid News. The Camaro was discovered by police testing sonar equipment in 12 feet of water and about 50 feet from the end of the main concrete boat ramp of Foss Lake – the very same boat ramp where Gary offloaded his boat over the years.

“I could have touched the top of their car. I was that close to them,” Gary said after finding out that his brother’s remains rested just feet away at the bottom of the lake in muddy water. “That’s an unbelievable thought to know they were that close all this time and took nearly 40 years to realize it.” In addition to Jimmy’s remains in the Chevrolet Camaro, police discovered two more remains of what is believed to be the two missing teens Rios and Johnson. However, their identity still has to be confirmed by the medical examiner.

To their surprise, police did not just find the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro with the remains of three teens in it. Just three feet away from the muddy and rusty car, authorities also discovered a 1952 Chevrolet with the remains of three more bodies, a leather wallet, and a sock and shoe. One of the three remains was identified to be that of 42-year-old Cleburn Hammack who was travelling with 69-year-old John Alva Porter and 58-year-old Nora Marie Duncan. Hammack, Porter, and Duncan were last seen heading to Foss Lake on April 8, 1969, about 18 months before the disappearance of Gary’s brother.

The Oklahoma bodies found in Foss Lake are cold cases to which investigators and family members are still seeking more answers. As of now, the medical examiner has stated that 16-year-old Jimmy Allen Williams and 42-year-old Cleburn Hammack likely drowned and that there were no signs of any other external trauma. The fact that a road narrows into the concreted boat dock at Foss Lake seems to suggest that both vehicles went accidentally into the lake instead of following the road. However, Gary Williams told The Associated Press by phone on Friday that while he and other family members were happy that they will eventually have their brother’s remains back, they all still had many unanswered questions about what exactly happened.