FOUND: The Answer to a 43-Year-Old Mystery - Atlas Obscura
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FOUND: The Answer to a 43-Year-Old Mystery


The car pulled out of the lake (Photo: Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office)

One night in 1972, Pamela Shook Kolbe’s father never came home. She recently told a local North Carolina news station:

“My parents were separated so it was just the two of us living together,” Kolbe said. “I got home probably around 8 p.m. that day and he never showed back up. The next day when I got up he still wasn’t there and neither was his car.  I was scared.”

For 43 years, no one knew exactly what happened to her father; he was declared dead in the early 1980s. But early this week, not long after Kolbe asked to reopen the case, the  the county sheriff’s office found her father’s car, 1968 Pontiac Catalina, in a local lake.

Th car’s roof had caved in, but the windows were still closed. In the car, the investigators found the remains of a person they believe is Kolbe’s father, Amos Shook, along with a wallet with his ID cards inside.  

The records of the original investigation into his disappearance are long since gone, but the sheriff’s office believes the new search benefitted from modern technology—they found the car at the bottom of the lake using advanced sonar. 

It’s not clear exactly why they chose to look there, though. And even though the mystery of what happened to Amos Shook has been solved, it may never be known how or why he got there. 

Bonus finds: A second Plutonian mountain rangean 18th century village buried under a Montreal highway

Every day, we highlight one newly lost or found object, curiosity or wonder. Discover something unusual or amazing? Tell us about it! Send your finds to sarah.laskow@atlasobscura.com.