Two Cars Recovered from Foss Lake in Oklahoma Reveal Six Dead Bodies - Part 2


(Continued from October 1, 2013)

If not the signature of a serial killer, then what might it be? Is it so randomly possible that two accident scenes could coincidentally show up and be discovered at the exact same moment? What are the odds that two totally unrelated incidences could end up so close together? Not very likely, in my opinion. What conclusion would you draw?

Since there is no soft tissue left at the scene, there will be no chance of fingerprints of any of the six bodies who have been submerged in the lake for decades. Dr. Hugh Berryman, forensic anthropologist at Middle Tennessee State University explains that many types of DNA are fragile and would have been destroyed with the years. There is a type of DNA referred to as mitochondrial DNA that has been shown in some research to able to be extracted from long bones, even after years of burial or submersion in water.

Sometimes this type of DNA is difficult or impossible to extract and it is less reliable than conventional nuclear DNA. IF a sample is retrievable, then it MAY be able to link to some ancestors. It's success would depend upon the detailed strain type, i.e. whether or not it has a unique pattern to it.

A good analogy for explanation is if you were looking for a name in the telephone book. If the last name was 'koswolsky', it might be easy to find, but if the strain turned out to be a 'Smith' or Jones', then the likelihood of it's being helpful in any type of identification is slim. If the DNA is retrievable, investigators will still have to be able to obtain DNA samples of next of kin, if they are still alive.

If DNA is not retrievable, the only possible method of identifying the victims is by dental record comparison. In this particular case, even dental records would be useless unless detectives are able to find who the family dentist was for each missing person. Then, they would have to find those 50 year old dental records IF the dentist is still alive and IF he has kept his dental records that long. Then, and only then, would you be able to ID the remains from the teeth in the cars (which I am sure is still in pristine condition.) That would be a tall order!

There were no national database for missing and unidentified persons in the 50’s or 60’s, so any computerized data of missing persons is likely to be useless unless law enforcement agencies entered the dental data years after either case was reported.

It is possible that they might come across some info such as license plate or VIN number lookup. Each state has all of them now, but the question is whether that kind of information will be retained by the state of Oklahoma for that long of a time period. It is doubtful.

If there were any hard personal effects that might have been retained in the car that would still be intact after half century, that would tie one group of three or the other to confirming that was their casket. Those items will not help sorting out the skeletons within each car. Forensic anthropologists can help with age, sex and race determination, but that may not be able to label which set of bones belongs to which victim. As soon as all the water is pumped out of those cars, you will have three separate skulls, three separate left legs, etc. or what forensic scientists refer to as 'comingling of remains'.

All that remains at this time is a mystery that may be stranger than science!