The Duncan Banner

Local News

October 6, 2008

Car found submerged

On Aug. 4, 2003, 71-year-old Virginia Carter was reported missing to the Duncan Police Department.

Five years later, her 1993 Mercury four-door Grand Marquis was found by the Lawton Police Department’s dive team Sunday afternoon at the bottom of Duncan Lake with remains inside.

Once the vehicle was removed from the lake, the state medical examiner took over the scene. He will analyze the remains through DNA and X-ray to verify the identity of the remains.

Duncan Police Capt. Jay Evans said that the state medical examiner will also determine whether there was foul play involved or whether there needs to be an autopsy.

“Anytime there is an unattended death, we call the medical examiner in,” Evans said. “The medical examiner takes over the scene once the car is removed from the water. We just secure the area for him.”

Duncan Police Maj. Rick Lang said that the car was found in the northeast portion of the lake in 19 feet of water.

The break in this missing person case came Sunday morning when a volunteer search-and-recovery team from Texas was helping the police on a separate and unrelated case, Lang said.

Tim Miller, the founder of Texas EquuSearch, a mounted search and rescue team, said that Duncan Police Lt. Jimmy Williams told them about this 5-year-old missing person case and asked them if they had any equipment that could search water.

Miller told the police about new sonar equipment that has been available for only a year and a half. This sonar has higher resolution than previous equipment and works similar to ultrasound.

It found what appeared to be a vehicle in the water. It took images from 75 feet out on all sides, then narrowed in to 60 feet and took another image.

“We had eight images,” Miller said. “It was pretty obvious it was a vehicle.”

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