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Car Crash Behind Missing Girls Mystery

April 15, 2014, 5:59 PM by Brady Mallory

Car Crash Behind Missing Girls Mystery
Pam Jackson | Sherri Miller

ELK POINT, SD -

"Back on May 29th, 1971, began a missing person's case," South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said.

On Tuesday, nearly 43 years later, the case is seemingly closed.  Jackley confirmed skeletal remains in a 1960 Studebaker in a Union County creek are that of Sherri Miller and Pam Jackson.  He also said Jackson and Miller were killed in a car crash, though, at this point, he admits no one is exactly sure what caused the crash.  However, he did mention tire damage, which has led some to wonder if a tire blow out caused the crash.

Miller and Jackson were last seen heading to a party at a gravel pit in May 1971. 

In September, authorities found the upside down Studebaker and pulled it from Brule Creek.  Based on what they found inside the car, they have ruled out any foul play.

Here is why investigators do not think anyone killed or hurt the two girls.  Jackley said their remains were found in the front of the vehicle, not in the trunk.  He also said the car was in third gear - the highest gear it could be in.  Had there been foul play, Jackley said the car would have likely been in a lower gear or in neutral.  The dashboard indicates the lights were still on when the car disappeared, and the keys were still in the ignition.  They were turned to the right, signaling the ignition was switched on.

Investigators also found Miller's purse in the car, which contained Miller's driver's license, a photo of Miller and two notes classmates had written to her.

"It's believed these two notes were written, as often times you do in high school, on photographs.  But over the 42 years of being submerged, the photograph disappeared, but you can see the writing by the classmates is still true to form," Jackley said.

Some of Miller's and Jackson's family members were at this news conference, but declined interviews.  Instead, Jackley read a statement from the Millers saying the news provides the closure they have been searching for. 

"Our day has come through this journey for answers pertaining to our beloved sister Sherri, and dear friend Pam. We will now be able to finish the last chapter of this journey," Jackley read.

Jackley said alcohol was not a factor in the crash.  He also said the DCI will work with forensic pathologists to return the remains back to the families.

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