An Alabama college student disappeared in 1976. His remains were identified 47 years later.

The remains of an Alabama college student who disappeared more than 45 years ago have been identified, police announced Sunday.

Kyle Clinkscales, 22, was traveling back to Auburn University on Jan. 27, 1976 but never arrived, the Troup County Sheriff's Office said on Facebook.

Clinkscales and his white two-door 1974 Pinto Runabout were missing for decades; then on Dec. 7, 2021, his car was found in a Chambers County, Alabama creek.

The car was taken to the Troup County Sheriff’s Office, where investigators from the sheriff's office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation processed it.

Inside the vehicle were human remains, as well as a wallet with Clinkscales' ID and credit cards. The remains inside were sent to the GBI Crime Lab for examination, police said.

On Sunday, just over a year after the vehicle and remains were found, the Troup County Coroner’s Office positively identified the remains as the missing student.

"The Coroner’s Office received this information from the GBI at which time they released it," the sheriff's office wrote in a Facebook post.

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Kyle Clinkscales, a 22-year-old Auburn University student who went missing the night of January 27, 1976. His vehicle and belongings were found on December 7, 2021. The remains were identified as his on February 19, 2023.

Where were the remains found?

Clinkscales' car was found around 11:20 a.m. on Dec. 7, 2021 in an Alabama creek, about 30 miles north of Auburn University. Someone contacted the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama about a car submerged in the creek, police said.

Investigators pulled the car from the water; it had a 1976 Georgia tag and a Troup County decal. Chambers County contacted the Troup County Sheriff’s Office to run the tag information.

After verifying the information, officials realized the tag and vehicle identification number matched the 1974 Ford Pinto Runabout Clinkscales was last seen driving decades ago.

A two-door 1974 Pinto Runabout belonging to Kyle Clinkscales, a 22-year-old Auburn University student who went missing the night of January 27, 1976. The vehicle was found on December 7, 2021. Inside were remains that were later identified as the missing student.

Saleen Martin is a reporter on USA TODAY's NOW team. She is from Norfolk, Virginia – the 757 – and loves all things horror, witches, Christmas, and food. Follow her on Twitter at @Saleen_Martin or email her at

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: He disappeared in 1976. His remains were just identified.