Investigators are hoping that the discovery of a 1974 Pinto could finally solve the disappearance of a university student 45 years ago.
The vehicle was pulled from a creek near Cusseta, Alabama, on Tuesday after a member of the public spotted it and called police.
Inside the car, investigators found what they think are human bones, along with identification and credit cards belonging to Kyle Wade Clinkscales.
The car belonged to Mr Clinkscales, although the bones have not yet been confirmed as his remains.
The 22-year-old disappeared on 27 January, 1976, after leaving LaGrange, Georgia, to return to Auburn University in Alabama.
Sheriff James Woodruff of Troup County, Georgia, said: “For 45 years, we’ve looked for this young man and looked for this car.
“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.”
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In 2005, two people were arrested in connection with Mr Clinkscales’s disappearance after his parents received a call from a man who said he was a seven-year-old when he witnessed the student’s body being covered with concrete in a barrel and dumped in a pond.
The two were accused of making false statements and, while one was not prosecuted, the other pleaded guilty to two charges and spent seven years and eight months behind bars.
Mr Woodruff said it is still unclear how Mr Clinkscales died, adding: “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.”
Mr Clinkscales’s father died in 2007 and his mother died this year.
He was an only child.
Mr Woodruff said: “It was always (his mother’s) hope that he would come home.
“It was always our hope that we would find him for her before she passed away.
“Just the fact that we have hopefully found him and the car brings me a big sigh of relief.”