Car accident killed SD girls missing since 1971

Comment: Off

In this undated photo provided by the South Dakota Attorney Generals Office, Cheryl Miller’s driver’s license is seen. Two South Dakota girls on their way to an end-of-school-year party at a gravel pit in May 1971 drove off a country road into a creek and remained hidden until last fall when a drought brought their car into view, authorities said Tuesday, April 15, 2014. State and local officials held a news conference Tuesday afternoon confirming that the 1960 Studebaker unearthed in September included the remains of Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson, both 17-year-olds who attended Vermillion High School. (AP Photo/South Dakota Attorney Generals Office)

In this undated photo provided by the South Dakota Attorney Generals Office, Cheryl Miller’s driver’s license is seen. Two South Dakota girls on their way to an end-of-school-year party at a gravel pit in May 1971 drove off a country road into a creek and remained hidden until last fall when a drought brought their car into view, authorities said Tuesday, April 15, 2014. State and local officials held a news conference Tuesday afternoon confirming that the 1960 Studebaker unearthed in September included the remains of Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson, both 17-year-olds who attended Vermillion High School. (AP Photo/South Dakota Attorney Generals Office)

In this undated photo provided by the South Dakota Attorney Generals Office, Cheryl Miller’s driver’s license, purse and other belongings are seen. Two South Dakota girls on their way to an end-of-school-year party at a gravel pit in May 1971 drove off a country road into a creek and remained hidden until last fall when a drought brought their car into view, authorities said Tuesday, April 15, 2014. State and local officials held a news conference Tuesday afternoon confirming that the 1960 Studebaker unearthed in September included the remains of Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson, both 17-year-olds who attended Vermillion High School. (AP Photo/South Dakota Attorney Generals Office)

In this undated photo provided by the South Dakota Attorney Generals Office, a license plate from the 1960 Studebaker unearthed in September, 2013 is seen. Two South Dakota girls on their way to an end-of-school-year party at a gravel pit in May 1971 drove off a country road into a creek and remained hidden until last fall when a drought brought their car into view, authorities said Tuesday, April 15, 2014. State and local officials held a news conference Tuesday afternoon confirming that the 1960 Studebaker unearthed in September included the remains of Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson, both 17-year-olds who attended Vermillion High School. (AP Photo/South Dakota Attorney Generals Office)

In this undated photo provided by the South Dakota Attorney Generals Office, the odometer mileage reading of the 1960 Studebaker unearthed in September, 2013, is seen. Two South Dakota girls on their way to an end-of-school-year party at a gravel pit in May 1971 drove off a country road into a creek and remained hidden until last fall when a drought brought their car into view, authorities said Tuesday, April 15, 2014. State and local officials held a news conference Tuesday afternoon confirming that the 1960 Studebaker unearthed in September included the remains of Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson, both 17-year-olds who attended Vermillion High School. (AP Photo/South Dakota Attorney Generals Office)

In this undated photo provided by the South Dakota Attorney Generals Office, clothing found from the 1960 Studebaker unearthed in September 2013 is seen. Two South Dakota girls on their way to an end-of-school-year party at a gravel pit in May 1971 drove off a country road into a creek and remained hidden until last fall when a drought brought their car into view, authorities said Tuesday, April 15, 2014. State and local officials held a news conference Tuesday afternoon confirming that the 1960 Studebaker unearthed in September included the remains of Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson, both 17-year-olds who attended Vermillion High School. (AP Photo/South Dakota Attorney Generals Office)

Buy AP Photo Reprints

ELK POINT, S.D. (AP) — Two South Dakota girls on their way to an end-of-school-year party at a gravel pit in May 1971 drove off a country road and into a creek where their remains lay hidden until last fall when a drought brought their car into view, authorities said Tuesday.

State and local officials held a news conference Tuesday afternoon confirming that the 1960 Studebaker unearthed in September included the remains of Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson, both 17-year-olds who attended Vermillion High School.

The investigators showed dozens of photographs of well-preserved clothing, Miller’s purse and even her driver’s license complete with a smiling photograph. Those personal items and DNA were used to identify the girls, said Attorney General Marty Jackley. Jackson didn’t have her purse along.

Classmates who saw the teens before they disappeared and other evidence indicated that they had not been drinking, he said. In addition, mechanical tests on the car pointed away from foul play, Jackley said. He noted that the car was in the highest gear and the headlight switch on the dashboard showed the lights were on.

“It’s consistent with a car accident,” Jackley said. “To start with, the forensic pathology and anthropology reports indicate that there’s no type of injury that would be consistent with or caused by foul play or inappropriate conduct.”

He said the bodies were found in the front seats, as opposed to the back seat or trunk, and that their clothing did not appear to be missing — all of which points away from their deaths being caused by a crime.

There is no way to know whether a blown tire might have cause a crash, but one was damaged and the tread was quite thin, he said.

Family members, law enforcement and others had searched the area countless times without luck.

“They were searching and they simply didn’t find it,” Jackley said.

Jackson’s father, Oscar, died Sept. 18, five days before the car was found.

“If you look at that obituary, it

Comments

comments

About the Author