Authorities are finally approaching a resolution to a 45-year-old cold case with the discovery of remains likely belonging to a Georgia college student who went missing in Alabama in 1976. Kyle Clinkscales’ car was found in a creek along with human remains and a wallet containing his ID, essentially confirming that Clinkscales has been found but not answering all of the questions surrounding the case, in which foul play has always been suspected.
Major development in cold case
Kyle Clinkscales, then 22, was returning to Auburn University on January 27, 1976, driving back to school in his 1974 Ford Pinto from his home in LaGrange, Georgia.
He never arrived at Auburn and authorities have been searching for him ever since. They have drained lakes and conducted numerous searches without locating any sign of him until now.
Clinkscales’ has no surviving immediate family; he was an only child and his father passed away in 2007. His mother died earlier this year.
Sheriff James Woodruff stated that the parents had never stopped looking for their son and that it is a great relief to him personally to know that the cold case may finally be solved soon.
The vehicle was located after someone called 911 to report that they had seen what appeared to be a car partially submerged in a creek.
Thinking someone might have skidded off the road, police instead realized that they had discovered Clinkscales’ car, which was at that point visible from the road.
Cause of death still undetermined
Chambers County Sheriff Sid Lockhart said that he did not know if the area had been searched when Clinkscales first went missing. The vehicle was apparently discovered because the water level has gone down in the creek.
The site was located about three miles away from the route the student normally would have taken to get from his home to the Auburn campus.
The license plate confirmed that the car belonged to Clinkscales and the ID and credit cards showed that the wallet was his. Confirmation for the remains will be a lengthier process.
The bones, which have not yet been tested, evidently have not fared well in their years underwater. Authorities were not even able to say with complete confidence that the remains were human, though they believe that they are.
This will make establishing a cause of death difficult even if the remains can be confirmed as belonging to Clinkscales, meaning that the cold case will still not be completely solved.
Investigators will continue to examine the car and the remains to determine anything they can about the nature of the 45-year-old disappearance.