On Wednesday, one man made a huge break in a missing persons case that has sat unsolved for over two decades.
Jeremy Beau Sides has an interesting passion, combining technology and nature to bring unique content to the world.
“I’m an outdoors adventurist,” he says on his Facebook page, “Exploring with the Nug.” “I love exploring rivers and creeks and making videos of my adventures.”
The most recent adventure that piqued his interest was to help solve the case of 18-year-old Erin Foster and 17-year-old Jeremy Bechtel, who went missing on April 3, 2000, in Sparta, Tennessee, after visiting a friend’s house in Foster’s black 1998 Pontiac Grand Am.
On Nov. 24, Sides posted a video of an attempt to locate the car using sonar, a giant magnet to mark the wreck and his diving gear. He searched a lake near where they would have been, and he did find a car — but it was a much older car.
Foster’s family noticed his work and, according to a news release from Sheriff Steve Page, informed the sheriff about Sides’ efforts to find the missing car.
“After looking at the case, Sheriff Page advised the man that he felt like he was searching in the wrong area and informed him of the area where the couple had went missing 21 years ago,” the release continued. “The man changed his location to Hwy 84, Calfkiller River on 11/30/2021.”
Sides pivoted, took his sonar and diving gear out to the area indicated by the sheriff — and found the missing car.
“Solved a 21 year old cold case with @garmin #sonar #car #coldcase,” he posted on Thursday.
He contacted authorities, who soon showed up and confirmed the car was Foster’s Pontiac. The car was removed from the water, and according to WTVF-V, human remains were found inside the vehicle.
The remains will be sent off for DNA testing, in the hopes that a match will be made and the families of these two young people will have closure at last.
“Every so often a case will pop up where somebody just vanishes off the planet and they disappear in their car,” Sides told WTVF. “That’s an immediate red flag that chances are, they went into a body of water somewhere.
“It was a very small town, two teenagers go missing and no one knows where they went,” he said. “Everybody knew these kids, they went to school with them, you know. Half the police officers went to school with these guys, they were friends with them.
“It was a very great feeling to bring so much closure and answers to so many people at once. It meant a lot to me, and I know it meant a lot to all of them too.”
Meanwhile, locals are saying the river is pretty accessible and small and it seems odd that the area wasn’t searched and the car wasn’t found earlier.
“That is the burning question,” Sides replied in the comments of one of his posts. “I wish I had the answers. This one I just don’t know.”
Page said in a news conference that authorities originally believed the car would be found in the west end of the county. But when Page was elected last year and reopened the case, he found information that indicated the incident likely took place closer to Foster’s home on the opposite area of the county.
Sides has also promised to post a full video of the discovery on his Facebook page on Saturday.
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