Police in Troup County, Georgia, have identified the remains of Kyle Clinkscales, who went missing aged 22 in January 1976.

Forty-five years after his disappearance, skeletal remains were recovered from the Auburn University student’s sunken 1974 Ford Pinto, found in a creek in Chambers County, Alabama, in December 2021.

The Troup County Coroner’s Office announced a match on Sunday, partly solving the mystery of Kyle’s disappearance.

It is still unclear whether Kyle’s death on his journey from LaGrange, Georgia, to Auburn, Alabama, was accidental or involved foul play.

After draining lakes and questioning suspects for decades without results, Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff said he wished the recovery of the car had been made when Kyle’s parents were still alive.

Kyle went missing on 27 January 1976 after leaving the Moose Club in his hometown of LaGrange, Georgia, where he worked.

In the evening, he made the journey back to his college at Auburn University in Alabama but never arrived.

His parents first realized something was wrong when Kyle did not call them that Sunday.

The missing person case had continued to puzzle investigators for decades.

In February 1976, his parents offered a $1,000 reward for information that would help find their son.

By March, the family started to suspect foul play.

Three years on, the reward increased to $25,000 and the story made national headlines.


With police making no progress, the mystery only grew more strange and complicated, with a psychic telling the parents that Kyle had been kidnapped, his car repainted and the body buried in Texas.

In 1981 a man told the family he believed he was Kyle Clinkscales, having lost his memory in a car accident.

15 years later, authorities started a 24-hour dig around Troup County, where the body was eventually found, but without luck.

Two men, Ray Hyde and Jimmy Earl Jones, were questioned in the investigation but nothing came of it.

Ray Hyde denied his involvement in 1996 and said he never knew Kyle.

After he died in 2001, a man contacted Kyle’s parents and said he had seen Hyde dispose of Kyle’s body in a barrel covered with concrete and dropped into a pond.

Jones was also arrested in 2005 and sentenced for two counts of making false statements, but not charged with murder.

He reportedly claimed Hyde had shot Clinkscales and that he had helped to move the body, after saying he knew nothing about the case.

With no known suspects, the tragedy of Kyle’s disappearance was drawn out past the death of his father and mother in 2007 and 2021 respectively.

Never knowing how or why her son had vanished, Kyle’s mother said once, ‘it was like the earth opened… and he vanished.’

It was Kyle’s aunt, Martha Morrison, who had to identify her nephew’s car when it was finally found in late 202.

Sheriff Woodruff said before the identification: ‘Just the fact that we have hopefully found him in the car brings me a sigh of relief.’

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