Kyle Clinkscales Disappearance: Investigators Catch Break After 45 Years

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[11Alive][YouTube]

Damir Mujezinovic

Auburn University student Kyle Clinkscales went missing on his way back to school in 1976.

Clinkscales was last seen at the LaGrange Moose Lodge, where he bartended. The young man allegedly left the bar to drive back to Auburn, and then seemingly vanished.

For decades, authorities have investigated Clinkscales's disappearance as a homicide, questioning several witnesses and interviewing people who knew Kyle.

But investigators were never able to catch a break in the case. That changed this week, when they discovered Clinkscales' car.

Read more below.

Kyle Clinkscales' Car Discovered

[11Alive][YouTube]

Officials with the Troup County, Georgia and Chambers County, Alabama sheriff's offices announced Tuesday that they found Clinkscales' car in a creek in Cusseta, Alabama.

As reported by 11 Alive, the discovery was made after someone spotted Clinkscales' white Ford Pinto and called 911.

Inside the car, the investigators found Clinkscales wallet, credit cards, and his ID. They also found bones.

"We’re glad today. For 45 years we’ve looked for this young man and looked for this car. We’ve drained lakes. We’ve looked here and looked there. It always turned out with nothing," Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff said.

Are Bones Clinkscales'?

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is analyzing the items found in the car, including the apparent human remains, but it remains unclear if the bureau will be able to make a determination.

"There's a substantial challenge in being able to get workable DNA from skeletal remains that were found submerged like in this case in a vehicle for many decades," DNA expert David Mittelman explained.

"The DNA will degrade over time, and that's going to be true for all older remains, including skeletal remains," he added.

'It Can Be Done'

"It can be done, it's just technically challenging because the DNA, obviously, hasn't been kept in the best possible state, and there's not a lot of human DNA that remains after such a long period of time," Mittelman continued.

The expert noted that extracting DNA could also help explain how Clinkscales died.

"So if there was a gunshot wound, you’d expect to see evidence of that from the skeletal remains. It’s a little trickier, I think there you’re kind of relying on, hopefully, clues from the skeletal remains, or other circumstantial evidence. And seeing that the car’s been submerged for some time, it sounds like the investigators will have their work cut out for them."

Unconfirmed Rumors

Clinkscales's parents, Louise and John, kept the search for their child alive for decades.

In 2005, as The Daily Beast reported, they received a phone call from someone claiming they saw their son being buried in a cement-filled barrel and dumped in a pond.

The pond was located near a salvage yard owned by car thief Ray Hyde. At the time, Troup County Sheriff Danny Turner speculated that it was likely Kyle heard something he should not have heard and was murdered.

Now it appears that those rumors were false.

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