Bone Found Inside Submerged SUV Belonging to Missing Mom, Kids

Stephanie Van Nguyen's SUV was found in the Ohio River after nearly 20 years
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 17, 2021 8:45 AM CDT
Updated Oct 20, 2021 12:01 AM CDT
SUV of Mom Missing With Kids Since 2002 Found in River
Stephanie Van Nguyen disappeared with her 4-year-old daughter, Kristina, and 3-year-old son, John in 2002.   (Handout)

(Newser) Update: A bone has been found in the SUV of a mother who's been missing for nearly two decades along with her two children. Anthropologists believe the bone is human, CBS News reports. Lab testing will make the final determination. Our original story from Sunday follows:

story continues below

An Ohio mother of two who went missing in 2002 left a note behind saying she planned to drive into the Ohio River. After nearly 20 years, authorities have now pulled her SUV from that very waterway. Stephanie Van Nguyen was 26 when she went missing with her two children, Kristina, 4, and John, 3, from Cincinnati suburb Delhi, per CNN. In a statement on Facebook, Delhi Township police wrote that the case went cold many years ago but it was taken up again just this year. Using more modern sonar technology, the statement says "over the past 6 months, teams have been scanning the Ohio River, but it wasn't until last week that three unique objects in the water were found that looked promising."

The green 1997 Nissan Pathfinder in which the family was last seen was located in Aurora, Indiana, per the statement. Lt. Joe Macaluso told reporters Thursday that it was too early to tell if any bodies were in the SUV, per the AP. Searchers found the vehicle more than 50 feet below the river’s surface and about 300 feet from the riverbank. “This has been a case we’ve actively pursued for many years. We did a cold case on it because of the anniversary. I’m happy for the family that we’ll be able to, hopefully, give some closure,” Macaluso said. (Read more missing person stories.)

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