Motor from submerged vehicle appears Sat. afternoon; ECU Anthropology students search for human remains

Published 4:51 pm Saturday, February 10, 2024

The motor from a submerged, wrecked Chevrolet in Jack’s Creek peeked above the water’s surface at approximately 3:15 p.m. on Saturday Feb. 10.

The car may be linked to a missing persons cold case from 1982. Law enforcement agencies have not confirmed if it is.

However, if it is, this will be the first time the car, a 1975 Chevrolet Camaro, has been in the sunlight in more than 40 years.

Starting at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9, crews began draining the Park Drive side of Jack’s Creek that leads into the Pamlico River. The water was dumped on either side – into the opposite side of Jack’s Creek and into the Pamlico River. Jack’s Creek was drained, because the water was too murky for divers to see the vehicle. They could feel it, but not see it.

According to Scotty Rose, with Sidney Dive Team, said he and another diver had six inches of visibility through silt, mud and brackish water when they dove on Friday afternoon. The water grew more opaque as it moved while being drained.

Jack’s Creek was drained with help from N.C. Forest Service and Woolard’s Automotive Inc. and B.E. Singleton & Sons Inc. who built a temporary dam to the Pamlico River from Jack’s Creek.

According to Woolard’s Automotive, the car could be pulled in fragments given that it has been underwater for more than 40 years. A windshield and seat were recovered on Saturday afternoon.

Students from East Carolina University’s Department of Anthropology began searching the area for human remains on Saturday afternoon.

The weekend’s recovery efforts stemmed from a collaboration between ReAnne Clifton Mayo and Jason Souhrada to determine what might have happened to her missing father.

Souhrada uses sonar technology to locate vehicles in waterways. To him, it is a hobby, but for Mayo, his hobby could provide her with answers to a 41-year-old mystery.

On Dec. 10, 1982, three men – William Clifton, David McMicken and Michael Norman, of Washington– traveled together in Clifton’s 1975 Chevrolet Camaro. They were seen that evening at the former VIP bar in Chocowinity. None of the men returned home seemingly vanishing into thin air.

Mayo and Souhrada hope the recovery efforts bring closure for Clifton, McMicken and Norman’s families. If the car is not Clifton’s Camaro, Mayo told the Daily News, on Friday, she hopes the once submerged vehicle will bring closure for one family.

Kayla Melendres, the daughter of David McMicken, believes if agencies can confirm it is a Chevrolet Camaro, then it leaves little room for doubt in her mind that it’s the same one her father was traveling in on Dec. 10.

“I have a feeling. I’m hopeful we’ll have answers and that it’s most likely them that we’ve been looking for,” Melendres said. Melendres, of Wilmington, arrived to the site on Saturday afternoon.