A missing-person case was solved after decades when Kyle Clinkscales' remains were identified.
Clinkscales, a 22-year-old student, went missing on January 27, 1976, near LaGrange, Georgia.
Two suspects were questioned, but no one was every charged for his death, per reports.
A missing Auburn University student was identified after an analysis of his remains, which were discovered in his sunken car in an Alabama creek.
The disappearance of 22-year-old Kyle Wade Clinkscales baffled his Georgia community for decades. Though the remains were found in 2021, it took more than a year to identify them as his.
On January 27, 1976, Clinkscales reportedly left his bartending job at Moose Club in LaGrange to head back to Auburn, according to an AL.com report. After departing in his white 1974 Ford Pinto Runabout, both he and his car vanished.
Authorities drained multiple lakes searching for Clinkscales' vehicle, and his parents, John and Louise Clinkscales, spent decades searching for him and founded a company to help locate missing persons, according to CBS 42.
Clinkscales's car was found in a creek in Chambers County, Alabama on December 7, 2021, according to a press release from the Troup County Sheriff's Office.
"Personal belongings of Kyle Clinkscales along with skeletal remains were recovered" and sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab and the FBI for analysis, per the press release. The remains were positively identified on Sunday.
A case with lingering questions
Clinkscales's aunt, Martha Morrison, identified her nephew's vehicle to police in 2021, per CBS 42. Both his parents had died by this point.
While some believe Clinkscales' life was claimed by an accident, others suspected foul play.
"I have no doubt in mind he was killed," former Troup County Sheriff Donny Turner told AL.com. "People have talked about this in the community for years and years and years. How everybody didn't know this, I just don't know."
Two men – Ray Hyde and Jimmy Earl Jones – were questioned in the investigation of Clinkscales' disappearance, but there were inconsistencies in the varying stories officials were told, AL.com reported.
A search of Hyde's property yielded nothing, the outlet reported, but he was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm. He died in 2001, per CBS 42.
According to AL.com, Jones claimed at one point that he knew nothing about the case but later claimed that Hyde shot Clinkscales. Jones said he helped Hyde with the body.
Pete Skandalakis – the former Troupe County district attorney who prosecuted Jones in 2005 for concealing the death of Clinkscales and giving false statements to the police – said Jones' testimony was "absolutely useless" due to the inconsistencies. Jones pleaded guilty in 2006 and was sentenced to prison from 2007 to 2013, per AL.com.
Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff told 11Alive he wished the discovery of Clinkscales' car had been made when his father and mother were still alive.
"It was always her hope that he would come home. It was always our hope that we would find him for her before she passed away," Woodruff told 11Alive in 2021. "Just the fact that we have hopefully found him in the car brings me a sigh of relief."
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