'For 45 Years, We've Looked for This Young Man and This Car'

Kyle Wade Clinkscales' car is found in an Alabama creek
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 8, 2021 1:35 PM CST
'For 45 Years, We've Looked for This Young Man and This Car'
Kyle Clinkscales.   (Troup County Sheriff's Office Facebook)

(Newser) – Investigators have discovered the 1974 Pinto a 22-year-old student was driving on his way back to Auburn University from Georgia when he disappeared more than 45 years ago, sheriff's officials announced Wednesday. Kyle Wade Clinkscales' car was pulled from a creek around Cusseta, Alabama, on Tuesday after a man called 911 to say he believed he had spotted a vehicle, reports the AP. Inside the car, investigators found what they think are human bones along with identification and credit cards belonging to Clinkscales, Troup County, Georgia, Sheriff James Woodruff said at a news conference.

The sheriff's office said on Facebook that the tag and VIN number are a match with those of the Pinto Clinkscales was driving when he left LaGrange, Georgia, on January 27, 1976. He was making the 45-mile drive back to Auburn from his bartending job, but never showed up. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking through the muddy vehicle for additional bones and will determine whether the two found so far belong to Clinkscales, Woodruff said. Woodruff did not rule out foul play in Clinkscales' disappearance. "I want to see what the GBI finds in the car, how many bones they find, do they find a skull," he said. "Was he murdered and left there? Did he run off the road and wreck there? That’s something we hope to discover, but it’s been 45 years."

Authorities in 2005 arrested two people in Clinkscales’ disappearance. Woodruff said he was not involved in those arrests and could not comment on them, but AL.com fills in some details, saying Jimmy Earl Jones, then 63, was charged with concealing the death of Clinkscales among other charges. The local sheriff at the time said Jones admitted to moving Clinkscales' body but didn't know how he died. AL.com didn't know the outcome of that case. "For 45 years, we’ve looked for this young man and looked for this car," he said. "We’ve drained lakes, and we’ve looked here and looked there and ran this theory down and that theory down and, it’s always turned out nothing." Clinkscales' father died in 2007, and his mother died this year. He was their only child.

(Read more cold cases stories.)

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