A cold case over four decades old was solved when a man’s remains were pulled from a lake in Caldwell County, North Carolina. The 43-year-old mystery of the disappearance of Amos Shook appears officially closed. Shook’s 1968 Pontiac Catalina was raised out of 30 feet of water this week. Remains were identified inside the vehicle, and a wallet with identification was found showing Shook’s name.
Writes the Charlotte Observer: “The green Catalina, filled with mud with the roof caved in, matched the car belonging to Shook on Feb. 19, 1972, when he was reported missing, Caldwell County Sheriff’s Capt. B.J. Fore said Wednesday.”
“This case was so old we didn’t even have a report on it,” Fore said. “We were able to find skeletal remains, which led us to believe they belong to the man missing for 43 years.”
Fore said the remains will be tested by the medical examiner’s office for positive proof, but the body most likely is Shook’s.
“We won’t know for sure if the remains belong to Mr. Shook until the medical examiner can confirm the identity,” he said. “But we believe it’s him.”
Capt. Fore said Shook’s daughter asked his department to search for her father, and provided the police with the information she had to date. Decades after the missing person case was closed as unsolved, another set of Caldwell County investigators resumed the search for the body of the retired Air Force veteran.
“We take a serious approach to all cases reported to the sheriff’s office and never consider a case closed until the truth is known,” commented Sheriff Alan Jones.
Jones said the North Catawba Fire and Rescue Dive Team used sonar equipment to “ping” the bottom of Lake Rhodhiss, located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina. The clear outline of a vehicle was spotted only a few dozen feet out.
“They probably dragged that lake back then looking for him, but now we have sonar,” Jones said. “We were able to identify what we believed to be a car at the bottom. It was his car.”
Investigators are not sure how Shook’s car ended up in the river. They said initial investigations of the remains and the car don’t reveal any indication of foul ply.
“Unless the medical examiner says the autopsy shows some type of foul play, we may never know what happened,” Fore said. “We don’t know his state of mind, and most of his family are probably in their 80s now. But we’re glad to have brought the family some closure.”