Three teens missing for over 40 years found at bottom of lake

UPDATE:  4/15/14 – Two South Dakota teens found in creek after 21 years positively identified.

UPDATE 9/25/13 –  Trooper George Hole told the Daily Elk Citian newspaper that the Camaro was running when it hit the water and the driver was driving “a little faster than he should have.” He says the impact damaged the radiator fan, a motor mount and the fuel pump.

UPDATE 9/21/13 – With the possible identities of the people in the two cars, we now know that one group went missing in April 1969 and the other in Nov. 1970.

UPDATE 9/19/13 – People who think they may be related to the remains found in both cars given DNA samples to the police.  Three of the bodies have been taken to the medical examiner on Thursday.  Authorities state that a positive identification could take from weeks to as long as a year.

Jimmy Allen Williams, 16, Leah Gail Johnson, 18, and Thomas Michael Rios, 18 (OK Police Dept)

A 1969 Chevrolet Camaro was found with three remains that are believed to  be the bodies of Jimmy Allen Williams, 16, Leah Gail Johnson, 18, and Thomas Michael Rios, 18.  They were reported missing in Nov. 20, 1970.

During a training session with new sonar equipment the Custer County Sheriff’s Department in Oklahoma came across skeletal remains in two different cars in Foss Lake.  Foss Lake is located between Elk City and Clinton, Okla.


Two rifles and a muddy wallet and purse have been found in one of the cars.  It is coming clearer that these two vehicles ended up in the water about a year apart from each other, and one theory from LEO is that the vehicles rolled back into the water and trapped the occupants inside.  It could be that the vehicles were found with their front ends facing the bank of the lake which would account for the conclusion they rolled back into the water.

UPDATE:  9/18/13 – Tim Porter of Enid said he believed the remains found in the 1950’s car could be those of his grandfather, John “Alvie” Albert Porter, who disappeared along with two other people in 1969. That car was found 50 feet from the end of the boat ramp.

See more updates throughout the article below with new photos:

Jimmy’s Camaro shortly after he bought it (Facebook)


Jimmy’s Camaro after pulled from lake (Facebook)

Shoe found in one of the cars (Facebook)

“In 1973, I worked for Beckham and Custer County as a state trooper, and I heard rumors that sometime in the early 60s there were two or three people in a car, and they were last seen in Canute,” Peoples  told the Elk City Daily News. “They were headed for Foss Lake and never seen again.”

Jimmy, who had a part time job at Harman’s Seventh Street Grocery Store.  On Nov. 20, 1970 he left his home in his Camaro that he had just bought six days earlier and told his parents he was going to a football game.  Just before he left he backed his car up to the back door and loaded up some shotguns in the trunk with the help of one of his younger brother’s.  It was later realized that Jimmy wasn’t going to the football game as he said but was going shooting with his two friends Leah and Tom.  Another one of Jimmy’s friends was going to go too, but changed his mind because he thought the car would be too crowded.  The three never returned home.

The other car, is a ’52 Chevy and after it was pulled out of the water an open door on the ’52 Chevy revealed human remains inside. it had three skeletal remains in it.  Sheriff Bruce Peoples believe that the remains may belong to a couple that went missing in the early 1960s, although he was not sure who the third person was.

Nora Duncan

UPDATE:  9/19/13 –  Clara Jo Irick was notified by authorities that her mother may be one of the people found in Foss Lake.  Nora Duncan went missing in  April 1969 from Canute, Oklahoma, and she may be on of the people in the 52 Chevy. Her family says she may have been with two other people at the time of her disappearance.   One was Alive Porter and the other, Cleburn Hammock.

“It will bring closure to me, for 40 some odd years I wondered what happened to her and I hoped with in my lifetime I would find out,” said Clara Jo Irick who was 39 when her mom went missing.

Alvie Porter may also be the other person in the 52 Chevy.

John “Alvie” Porter

The cars were found at the far south tip of the lake by the boat ramp by the marina about 12-feet down on Sept. 10, but authorities didn’t realize there were body’s in the cars until today.

Becky Jones posted on Facebook that Jimmy William’s aunt was married to her grandfather.

“Not only did she suffer her own loss of her nephew, but she watcher her sister suffer the loss of her son. Both passed away not knowing what happened to Jimmy.”

Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying who the other car may belong to that was found in the lake.

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Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.


  1. Facts? You're being far too generous. These are the sort of ravings you'd find on an angelfire homepage 😉

    As for the headlamps comments….how old are some of you people? ALL cars manufactured for the US market then had ROUND, sealed-beam headlamps. Rectangular lamps were introduced in the mid 1970s. I believe it was Ford that petitioned the government to permit the usage of the new shape (Consumer Reports posted an editorial from that time saying that the government should turn down the request). A relative of mine purchased a 1962 Mercedes Benz 220S in 1970, the car had been brought in from the German market-he spent a fortune replacing the unique, stacked headlamps of the Benz with American-market replacements.

    As for this story, it's truly American Gothic. What a strange and terrible fate these two groups of friends suffered, if they weren't victims of foul play, then it's just tragic and probably avoidable accidents that that took them all. May they rest, and their surviving relatives take something with them from this dreadful discovery. At least the “never knowing” part of their suffering may soon be over.

    On a lighter note, I see there's a Part 2 to the Harems in USA saga! Read on!

  2. The car's front ends were facing the boat ramp, so they either rolled back or were backed in to the lake. This indicates that it was not a case of the driver losing his way and simply driving into the lake. What gear were the vehicles in ? Neutral or Reverse?

    If it were me given the time period, and I were investigating I would try to determine the victims cause of death, if it can be after 40 years.
    And this is with all due respect to the victims and their families
    Why did the teenagers have the shotguns? Were they scared of something?
    Were the teenagers involved with something?

    The drug culture was hot and heavy during the 60's and 70's, even in Oklahoma. Along with illegal bootlegging operations. So I would want to know what was going on in Oklahoma in that area at that Time? What criminal operations were operating in the area, what investigations were going on during that time, and where there any notable drug or illegal alcohol bust occured during that time period and in that area.

    There were several criminal organization operating in Oklahoma during that time period, most notable was the Dixie Mafia- Could they be resposible.

    All the victims could have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time and maybe they were victims of a serial killer, but the fact that the teenagers had shotguns in the car, at night I beleive, could give a good indication that there was something else in the works.

    And maybe not, maybe it was an accident, but it does seem suspicious given the circumstances.

  3. In 1970 in Oklahoma!? I lived there then and I don't recall any Miami Vice scripts making the rounds. I'm sure people theorized they went in the water even if there was no way to know at the time. Let us know when someone gets convicted by 40 yr old DNA that's been in the water continually since the “crime.”

  4. I remember seeing a show on ID Channel where there was a missing person and that they said that the car may have driven off of the landing because it was so dark out and even if they had stumbled on it accidently that it had a good chance of happening. I think that maybe in the more rural areas this may be true and that with especially teens, that foul play was not at play. If they were to panic and become disorientated they may not have thought to open a window but only hope that someone would come along and recue them which never happened. I just do not know how they never realized cars were in there at all. Hmmmm but, may they all rest in peace and may the families now be able to move forward knowing where their loved ones are.

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