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US police car: In North Carolina, three men have been missing since visiting a bar in 1982

Photo: Raleigh News & Observer/TNS

An amateur detective has apparently solved a more than 41-year-old missing person case in the US state of North Carolina.

On December 10, 1982, three men aged 24 to 32 disappeared without a trace after visiting a bar in Chocowinity, US media reported.

They were last seen in a car, a 1975 Chevrolet Camaro.

The daughter of one of the men told a local television station that her father had met his friends after taking his family to see the Christmas lights and Santa Claus.

Sadly, she said, "he never came home."

According to a statement from the relatives, from which the local station WITN-TV quoted, Jason Sourada from South Carolina now contributed to the breakthrough in the case: After Sourada heard about the missing people on YouTube, he contacted another daughter of one of them on Facebook The missing person was contacted, it was said.

"Sourada then dedicated himself to developing a special sonar device that would help discover the car," the families said.

City shares photos of the search operation

Sourada and the daughter were in contact for over a year and a half.

In January he informed them of his breakthrough: he had searched a local reservoir called Jack's Creek with his structure and had found evidence of the car.

"Jack's Creek was on the route they were supposed to have taken home," Sourada said, according to local station WNCT.

According to the families' statement, other amateur detectives had previously searched the water without success.

Sourada called in the authorities.

On February 9th, a rusted Chevrolet axle and human remains were recovered.

The city of Washington, North Carolina, shared photos of the search on Facebook.

Authorities eventually said the vehicle identification number matched that of the Chevrolet Camaro in which the three missing people were last seen.

According to the information, the human remains found are now being examined for forensic medicine.

"At this time, the Washington Police Department is confident that the vehicle and remains found are those of the three men from Beaufort County who have been missing since 1982," the Washington, North Carolina police chief said, according to WNCT-TV .

“We are all still shocked by this discovery,” the families said.

The find is “a sign of hope.”

One of the daughters told WITN-TV that the situation was "very emotional for all families" but also relieving.

"I know everyone is still grieving," she said.

“The grieving process begins all over again for three families.”