Two hunters stumbled across what may be the most telling and chilling piece of evidence in South Dakota's best-known cold case.
Sherri Miller and Pam Jackson haven't been seen since 1971. The 17-year-old Vermillion girls were on their way to a party near Beresford when they vanished.
On Monday, someone who lives in the area found four wheels of a car sticking out of Brule Creek, which is in Union County between Beresford and Elk Point. The car found is a 1960 Studebaker and the license plate on the vehicle matches the one on the car the girls were last seen in.
The vehicle has been underwater for more than four decades. As they try to remove it, the car is falling apart so they are now removing evidence piece by piece.
"We're in the process of excavating the material out of the vehicle now to determine exactly what it is, in fact, we have," Union County Sheriff Dan Limoges said.
"We believe it has to do with the disappearance of Cheryl Miller and Pam Jackson, but we're not going to say any further details until we've had an opportunity, as the sheriff indicated, to excavate the vehicle, to take it in for forensic testing and to ascertain more information," South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said.
Pam Jackson's family was in the area over the weekend for the funeral of her father. Jackley says they were at the scene for a time Monday afternoon.
The two girls were Juniors at Vermillion High School and were headed to a party in a gravel pit when they disappeared.
More than three decades after the girls vanished in May 1971, the case resurfaced in 2004.
That's when investigators zeroed in on a Union County farm, searching for any clues connected to the disappearance. The farm was located north of Monday's discovery.
Around that same time, a man who grew up on the farm was accused in the case, but the charges against David Lykken were later dropped. He is currently serving prison time for two unrelated rapes.
At this point, there's no word on any criminal charges in connection with the case. Investigators say they are still recovering evidence and reviewing it. Their focus now is on giving the girls' families some closure.
Read past stories on the search for Pam Jackson and Sherri Miller:
|Sept. 23, 2013||Big Break In Famous South Dakota Cold Case|
|Sept. 23, 2013||Car Found In Union County Connected To Missing Girls Case|
|Sept. 23, 2013||Car Connected To 1971 Missing Girls Case Found In Union County|
|July 4, 2007||Mother Remembers Pam Jackson|
|Sept. 19, 2004||Students Help Cold Case Team|
|Sept. 9, 2004||Jackson Family Waits For Answers|
|August 31, 2004||Doe Network Helps With Sherri Miller And Pam Jackson Case|
|August 30, 2004||Sherri Miller's Family Remembers|
|August 29, 2004||Sherri Miller's Family Talks|
|August 27, 2004||The Emotional Impact Of Cold Cases|
|August 26, 2004||Classmate Talks About Pam Jackson And Sherri Miller's Disappearances|
|August 26, 2004||Cold Case Coffee Talk|
|August 25, 2004||33-Year-Old Investigation Into Two Teens' Disappearances|