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Oklahoma bodies found in lake: Cold cases closed after find in Foss Lake

In Oklahoma, bodies found in a lake solved two cold cases that had been on police books for over 40 years. Police found a total of six bodies in two submerged cars at the bottom of Foss Lake, and authorities released the identities of two of the people found in the cars nearly a year after the discovery. Canada Journal reported on this story on Aug. 10.

Six bodies were found submerged in two cars at the bottom of Foss Lake.
Six bodies were found submerged in two cars at the bottom of Foss Lake.
Photo by Mesa Top News Examiner: Video screen cap

It is not every day that police solve cases that go back 40 years. Last September, police found two submerged cars at the bottom of Foss Lake. The cars were found using sonar testing. After the sonar picked up the vehicles, divers went into the lake to investigate. When police brought up the vehicles, they found the bodies inside. The cars were submerged under 12 feet of water close to the concrete boat dock. A road ends at the dock, according to authorities. This could explain how the cars managed to end up at the bottom of the lake.

At the time of the discovery last year, Betsy Randolph, a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, said the following:

"It was quite a shock when the first car came out and we saw what was in the driver's seat."

Who was found in the vehicles? In the first car, Jimmy Allen Williams was aged 16 at the time of his disappearance in 1970. He disappeared with two friends, Thomas Rios and Leah Johnson, and they were headed to a football game in Elk City. The trio never arrived, and they have been listed as missing persons ever since. Kim Carmichael, a friend of Jimmy's said the following about the discovery, according to The Telegraph:

"I just remember how devastated everybody was. We lived in a little town. Nothing like that ever happened."

In the second car, police identified Cleburn Hammack. Two others were found in the 1952 Chevrolet Sedan discovered in Foss Lake, but authorities have not yet released their names to the public. Hammack disappeared in 1969. Even though authorities have not yet released the identities of the other male found in the car, the family of Alvi Porter feel he is the other man in the car. He disappeared the same day Hammack did in 1969. Debbie McManamman, said the following about the potential discovery of her grandfather:

"We never gave up. We always wanted some clue that somebody knew something. I can still see his tall, lanky body walking up to the car. He always had a smile on his face."

The discovery of these two vehicles helped bring closure to these cold cases. There is no connection between Williams and Hammack. They are both from the same town, but their cars ended up close together at the bottom of the lake on coincidence. Authorities revealed that that both men died of accidental drowning. There was no sign of trauma on either body. The discovery of their bodies allows both of their families to grieve.

This is not the only cold case making news currently. Steve Jackson tells the story of the solving of a 1980s cold case in "Bogeyman." After 20 years, police were able to arrest a man for the murder of three young girls. Jackson's story follows the steps the police took to solve these crimes. He saw that the story behind the solving had "all the requirements for a good story." David Elliott Penton has been charged with the murders, but he is currently in prison on another case. He is not eligible for parole until 2027. If released, he will be sent to Texas to face the charges for these three murders.

It is not every day that police can close the book on decade's old cold cases, but it can happen. When it does happen, families can find closure as they have in these cases.