Human remains and car found in creek linked to 1982 cold case, North Carolina police say


Human remains and a car found in a North Carolina creek are linked to a decades-old cold case, police said. 

In 1982, three men went missing after leaving a bar in Chocowinity, North Carolina, according to CBS News affiliate WNCT. William Clifton, 30, David McMicken, 24, and Michael Norman, 32, were all in a 1975 Chevrolet Camaro, police told WCNT, but were never seen again. 

The car found in Washington, North Carolina is the same make and model, police told WCNT, but the car was “in such bad shape it was hard to even identify that it was a vehicle at all,” from being submerged in a body of water known as Jack’s Creek, according to Sidney Dive Team Captain John Scott Rose Jr. Chocowinty and Washington are neighbors. 

Police began searching the waterway after Jason Sourada, a man from Myrtle Beach, learned about the cold case and began privately searching the area. Sourada told WCNT that he identified the creek as being along the route the men could have been driving, so he put a “remote-controlled solar boat” in the body of water to look for anything amiss. 

Search efforts continue to identify a submerged vehicle in Jack’s Creek.

Thank you to all of the staff and volunteers that have made this multi-agency effort possible.

Posted by City of Washington, NC on Saturday, February 10, 2024

Sonar footage collected by the boat showed the discovery of a possible vehicle, according to WNCT. A car axle was found on Feb. 9, leading police to start pumping water out of the area to better search for more evidence. When the car was removed from the water after two full days, police were able to match the vehicle’s VIN number to that of the car that went missing in 1982, confirming that it belonged to one of the missing men, according to WCNT. 

Investigators found human remains inside the car, but the remains have not yet been identified. Chief Phil L. Rollinson of the Washington Police Department told WCNT that DNA from the remains will be compared to DNA samples collected from known family members of the three missing men. However, he and other officials are “confident” that the remains are those of Clifton, MicMicken and Norman. 

“This case has endured in the minds of Beaufort County residents since December 10, 1982, when it was originally investigated by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Department,” Rollinson said in a news release reviewed by WCNT. “At this time, the Washington Police Department is confident this vehicle and the remains recovered are those of the three Beaufort County men who have been missing since 1982: William Clifton, David McMicken and Michael Norman.”


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