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A Ford Pinto Was Found In A Creek 45 Years After Its Owner Disappeared

The muddy hatchback could help solve a decades-old cold case.

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The Troup County Sheriff has reopened a decades-old cold case in Georgia, following the discovery of a 1974 Ford Pinto in a creek. The Pinto belonged to Kyle Clinkscales, an Auburn University student last seen on January 27, 1976 — about 45 years ago. The 22-year old was reportedly driving from his hometown of LaGrange, Georgia back to his university in Auburn, Alabama when he went missing.

On Tuseday, someone reported seeing a car in a creek under Chambers County Road 83 after noticing a hatch door sticking out of the water, per WDSU. The Chambers County Sheriff in Alabama responded to the report and pulled the car out.


The sheriff identified the car as a white 1974 Ford Pinto Runabout bearing a Troup County license plate, and the Troup County Sheriff confirmed it belonged to Kyle Clinkscales.


The Sheriff said that a wallet, credit cards and an ID belonging to Clinkscales were found inside the car, along with what appear to be several human bones.

The suspected human remains have not been identified as the remains of Kyle Clinkscales. Now that the investigation is again, open.

The Troup County Sheriff turned the Pinto over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is disassembling the car as they continue to look for remains and/or clues. The suspected human bones are pending identification.


Despite the authorities following “hundreds of leads” over four decades, per CNN, no major findings were ever reported until now. The Troup County Sheriff said his department has “drained lakes and conducted numerous searches in hopes of finding Clinkscales,” as CNN reports. The Chambers County Sheriff did mention, though, that the Ford Pinto’s location was close along the route Clinkscale would have been driving at the time of his disappearance:

Chambers County Sheriff Sid Lockhart said the car was found about three miles away from what would have been Clinkscales’ normal route back to school. Lockhart said he did not know if the area was searched when Clinkscales initially went missing.


The proximity of the submerged car to the route Clinkscales allegedly drove along is notable, but even more noteworthy are the arrests and convictions related to the case, as WSB-TV reports:

There have been many twists and turns in the case over the years. Officials named a lead suspect who died in 2001 but always claimed he had nothing to do with Clinkscales’ death.

But two others were arrested and convicted in 2005 for helping him conceal the body. The two told the sheriff’s office that Kyle was shot, [put] in concrete in a 55 gallon drum and buried in a pond.

No remains and no car were found until now.

When local reporters asked the Troup County Sheriff what the findings would mean for those arrested in connection with the case, the Sheriff said questions should be referred to the Sheriff and District Attorney who worked the case prior to him, because only they would know with certainty. That certainty may now be found in that muddy Ford Pinto, and it only took 45 years to find it.