Car From 1971 Missing Persons Case Found
by Breanna Fuss, Reporter
September 23, 2013 9:37 PM
Over four decades ago, two teens from Vermillion went missing. And it’s been years since there has been a lead in the 1971 missing person’s case of Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson. On Monday however that all changed after a resident found the car the two were in at the time of their disappearance.
The 1960 Studebaker Lark the two teens were driving in was found on an embankment in Brule Creek in rural Union County. Officials said the car has the same license plate and hub caps that were reported to officials after the girls went missing. South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said this is the oldest case in the state with the most recent activity.
South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said, "Recent high water levels, followed by all-time low levels have made this discovery possible."
On Monday morning the Union County Sheriff's Office received a call from a resident. The person reported there was a car in Brule Creek under the bridge on 310th Street.
Union County Sheriff Dan Limoges said, "The vehicle was submerged. We could see the undercarriage of the vehicle and four tires sticking out of the water.”
That prompted officials to begin an investigation that would result in a stunning discovery that will hopefully finally give the families of Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson answers.
"On May 29, 1971, two teenagers, who were juniors at Vermillion, disappeared," Jackley said.
Jackley said 17-year-old Miller and Jackson were driving to the gravel pits in the northern part of Union County for a party around 9:30 that night when they took a wrong turn and vanished.
In 2004, clothes, bones, a purse, and other items were found on a farm. The owner of the farm at the time of the incident, David Lykken was indicted on six different murder charges in the disappearance of Miller and Jackson. Those charges were dropped in 2008 after state prosecutors learned another prison inmate made up Lykken's supposed admission. Lykken is currently serving an unrelated 227-year prison sentence for rape and kidnapping.
Jackley said at this time, they don't know if anything in the car will connect him, or anyone else to the Miller and Jackson. He said investigators’ number one priority right now is to get the car out in one piece.
Jackley said the car has sat in the bottom of this creek for the last 42 years, and that has made the removal of it difficult. Jackley said the car is in bad shape, but investigators are doing what they can to get it out in one piece.
“It will come, and it will be part of forensics," Jackley said.
Once the car is out of the river however, it will be processed for evidence. Jackley spoke with the Jackson family Monday who say they are so grateful for all of the hard work investigators are doing to help them find out what happened to Miller and Jackson.
Jackley said at this time they do not know if the disappearance criminal wrong doing, or accidental.