Families give more details that might reveal the cold cases in Foss Lake

The discoveries of two cars and six bodies in Foss Lake has reopened decades-old western Oklahoma cold cases. Family members of six people reported missing in the area in 1969 and 1970 hope the Foss Lake discoveries will provide answers to their loved ones' cases.
by Juliana Keeping Modified: September 19, 2013 at 10:39 pm •  Published: September 19, 2013

“How can it not be them?” Williams said. “It's a '69 Camaro, and it's got three bodies inside.”

The investigation

Six people disappeared from two tiny towns off Route 66 in western Oklahoma — Canute and Sayre — in two years, three in 1969, and another three in 1970.

The strangeness of the two events has spun numerous conspiracy theories over the years regarding the disappearances, said George Hoyle, the Oklahoma State Highway trooper who found the cars. Hoyle was using new sonar technology affixed to a patrol watercraft when, 50 feet off shore and in 12-feet of water, the images of two cars appeared. The cars were pulled from the water, and the bodies were discovered inside.

Those cars and bodies seem to match up with those decades-old reports.

It's not clear what happened, and the investigation will take time.

“The truth never changes,” Hoyle said.

It will take up to a year to match DNA from the remains with DNA samples provided by living family members, authorities said.

The skeletal remains have been taken to the state medical examiner's office. Signs of trauma, such as cut marks on the ribs or bullet holes, would indicate foul play.

The deaths could be accidents. A road leading into Foss Lake ends at a boat launch that spills into the lake.

“We won't know until the medical examiner completes their autopsies to see if there is any criminal-type trauma to the bodies,” Peoples said.

“More than likely, these are two accidents, but all of that right now is under investigation,” Hoyle said.

Besides autopsies and DNA tests, investigators will take into consideration things, such as items found in vehicles and what gear the vehicles were in, in making a final report, Hoyle said.

Some things may never be known about the nights that the cars and people ended up in Foss Lake.

For Gary Williams, brother of Jimmy Williams, some answers are better than none.

He is just grateful that it may be possible to finally bury his older brother after decades of not knowing where he was.

“Whatever the investigation reveals, I'm going to reconcile that in my mind and be done with it,” he said.

“We got what we asked for. We got Jimmy's body back.”

by Juliana Keeping
Enterprise Reporter
Juliana Keeping is on the enterprise reporting team for The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com. Keeping joined the staff of The Oklahoman in 2012. Prior to that time, she worked in the Chicago media at the SouthtownStar, winning a Peter Lisagor Award...
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