Authorities in Oklahoma have publicly identified the remains of two of the six bodies found in two vehicles dredged up out of Foss Lake last September, setting in motion the solving of several cold cases of missing persons decades old. One set of remains was identified from each of the submerged vehicles. The Canada Journal reported Aug. 10 that the two recent identifications were of Jimmy Allen Williams and Cleburn Hammack.
Jimmy Allen Williams, 16 at the time of his disappearance in 1970, was identified by the Custer County Medical Examiner's Office, according to KWTV in Oklahoma City. He disappeared with two friends, Thomas Rios and Leah Johnson, while driving a 69 Camarao. They were headed to a football game in Elk City but never arrived. They have been listed as missing person ever since.
Thomas Michael Rios and Leah Gail Johnson, both 18 years old at the time of their deaths, were last seen in the car driven by Williams. Thus far, however, their remains have yet to be positively identified even though authorities are convinced that the other two skeletons found in Foss Lake still inside the Camaro belong to the missing teens.
The second set of remains identified by the Custer County Medical Examiner's Office belonged to Cleburn Hammack. His was one of three sets of skeletons found in a 1952 Chevrolet sedan just three feet from the 69 Camaro.
Back in September, the Associated Press reported (via Yahoo News) that two rusted vehicles were pulled out of Foss Lake in Custer County in western Oklahoma, east of the Texas Panhandle. Authorities were struck by the proximity of the two vehicles to each other but their ending up alongside each other was simple coincidence. The two carloads of missing people disappeared a few years apart: The Chevrolet sedan in the early 1960s; the Camaro in 1970.
The other two sets of remains in the sedan are believed to belong to Alvi Porter and Nora Duncan, although neither have been positively identified as yet. All three were from Washita County and family members of Porter's have noted that Porter was with Hammack when he disappeared.
According to the Medical Examiner's report, none of the six individuals discovered in the two cars in Foss Lake appeared to be injured, leaving the M.E. to conclude that cause of his death as probable drowning, and the manner of death as accidental.
There had been speculation for years as to what happened to all six. Some even played with the idea that the missing could have been murdered. Now that speculation could be laid to rest. Custer County authorities had started their investigation treating the dual find as a crime, but an accidental cause for both vehicles to be in Foss Lake was also entertained.
Custer County Sheriff Bruce Peoples told the Associated Press in September that both cars could have ended up in Foss Lake by simply being driven there by accident. "We know that to happen, even if you know your way around. It can happen that quick," he said at the time.
The Medical Examiner's Office also released two Anthropologist Consultation reports, citing that authorities believed that one set of remains in the Camaro were those of Thomas Michael Rios and another set of remains, this set pulled from the Chevrolet sedan, belonged to Nora Duncan. Officials are still waiting for positive DNA identifications, however, on the two sets of remains, as they are on the last set of two.