Almost 20 years ago, Ohio police say a mom and her two young children vanished.
Delhi Township Police began what they called a “lengthy investigation” into the disappearance of Stephanie Van Nguyen, 26 at the time, her 4-year-old daughter Kristina and her 3-year-old son John.
But, police were unable to solve the missing persons case and it ultimately went cold, according to a Friday morning Facebook post from the department.
The cold case stayed that way until this year, when Delhi investigators decided to look into it with fresh eyes and newer technology.
Lt. Joe Macaluso said his department was, in part, inspired to continue the investigation ahead of its 20-year anniversary and wanting to give the family some closure, according to WKRC.
Police are one step closer to being able to provide closure after a six-month search in the Ohio River led to a big discovery.
With help from the Hamilton County Police Association Dive Team and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the team used side scan sonar technology to scan the river for objects, police said on Facebook.
And, after about six months of doing so, police said the technology detected three “unique” objects underwater that seemed “promising” to investigators.
On Wednesday, police said the dive teams were called to the Ohio River in Aurora, Indiana. There, they found the vehicle that the missing mother and children were last seen in.
The Nissan Pathfinder had been at the bottom of the river for about 19 years, WLWT reported.
On Facebook, Delhi Police said the department is working with Indiana State Police to determine if Nguyen, Kristina and John were in the SUV.
“Given the fact that it’s in the water for that length of time, the likelihood of finding anything is going to be slim, but we’re certainly going to try,” Macaluso said, according to WLWT.
Still, Macaluso told WXIX investigators were glad to find a new lead to tell the family about.
“This is been an investigation we have worked on for a long time,” he said. “Two different detectives from Delhi have since retired. I’ve made them aware of the findings.”
The investigation into their disappearance began in April 2002 after “Nguyen left a note that she was going to drive into the Ohio River,” the police Facebook post said.
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