The mysterious disappearance of a college student in 1976 bewildered investigators and left them wondering for answers for decades. The investigation was left hanging. However, 47 years later, his car, and possibly his remains, were found by a passerby at the bottom of a creek in rural Chambers County.
22-year-old Kyle Clinkscales was last seen driving back to campus from his Georgia hometown on January 27, 1976. He left his home in his white Ford Pinto that winter night with plans to return to school in Alabama. However, he never reached his destination and was never been seen since.
Police and detectives searched for Kyle and signs of his car for years, but to no avail. Decades later, in December 2021, a passerby spotted a Ford Pinto at the bottom of a creek in Cusseta, Alabama. Police found Kyle Clinkscales’s wallet with his ID and several credit cards.
Human remains were also found, but detectives had to investigate further if it was indeed Kyle Clinkscales. Soon, investigators were able to confirm that the license plate matched Kyle’s car, CEF 717. The car was registered to Kyle Clinkscales.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called in, and the remains were turned over for DNA analysis. Over a year later, the remains were confirmed to be Kyle Clinkscales’s by the local sheriff’s office. However, they could not determine the real cause of his death.
The Troup County Sheriff’s Office has released a statement that read: “On February 19, 2023, the Troup County Sheriff’s Office was notified by the Coroner’s Office that the body has been positively identified as that of Kyle Clinkscales. The Coroner’s Office received this information from the GBI at the time they released it.”
Although the disappearance of Kyle Clinkscales has finally been solved after nearly 5 decades, authorities yet have to determine the cause and manner of his death. Detectives were finding ways to determine whether Kyle died due to an accident or by homicide.
Further investigation prompted authorities to believe Kyle may have been murdered, with a witness who gave a statement, and police even arrested two people in connection with his disappearance, namely, Jimmy Earl Jones and Jeanne Pawlak Johnson. Several questioning sessions made the authorities realize that their statements were false. While one was acquitted, the other pleaded guilty to two counts of giving false statements and obstructing justice by concealing Clinkscales’s death.
Jimmy Earl Jones’s statements never revealed what really happened to Kyle Clinkscales due to inconsistency when answering questions. Jones was sent to prison, and was sentenced to seven years and eight months, where he remained until January 2013. His current location remains unknown.
Unfortunately, neither of Kyle’s parents lived long enough to hear the local sheriff’s announcement. Kyle Clinkscales’s mother, Louise Clinkscales, died in January 2021, nearly 45 years to the day that her son disappeared. In 2007, Kyle’s father, John, died of a heart attack. Sadly, they never knew about their son’s fate and that his car and his remains have been found.
Images credits: © WSOC-TV News