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An Auburn student vanished 45 years ago. His car was just found in an Alabama creek.

It’s still unclear why the car was in the creek and whether bones found inside belong to Kyle Clinkscales.
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The vehicle of a college student who disappeared in 1976 was found in an Alabama creek, partly ending a cold case that has baffled investigators for four decades, authorities said Wednesday.

Image: Kyle Clinkscales
Kyle Clinkscales.Troup County Sheriff's Office

But it’s still unclear why the car, a 1974 Ford Pinto, was in the creek, and whether bones found inside the car belong to Kyle Clinkscales, Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff said during a news conference.

He said the car, which also contained a wallet with a Clinkscale's driver's license, is being processed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

"For 45 years we’ve looked for this young man and looked for this car," Woodruff said. "We’ve drained lakes and we’ve looked here and looked there and run this theory down and that theory down and it’s always turned out with nothing."

Then, on Tuesday, Woodruff said, a sheriff's official from a neighboring county in Alabama called and asked if they were looking for a Ford Pinto.

Clinkscales, 22, was returning to school at Auburn University, in Alabama, from LaGrange, Georgia, the night of Jan. 27, 1976 when he vanished.