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Skeletal remains found in car pulled from Union County creek

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ELK POINT, S.D. | Authorities say skeletal remains were found in an old Studebaker believed to be tied to the 1971 disappearance of two 17-year-old girls.

Crews lifted the rusted, mangled hulk from an embankment in Brule Creek near Elk Point on Tuesday afternoon.

State and local agency leaders say some potential pieces of evidence have been taken from the site and will be processed.

They say no other information will be released until an autopsy and more testing is done and the families are told of the results.

Investigators say they think the car was driven by Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson, who were last seen May 29, 1971, driving a beige 1960 Studebaker Lark on their way to a party.

A fisherman called authorities after noticing one of the car's wheels. -- Associated Press

BERESFORD, S.D. | State and local investigators on Tuesday will continue excavating material from a submerged car believed to be tied to the 42-year-old disappearance of two Vermillion, S.D., girls.

Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson, both 17, were last seen in a beige 1960 Studebaker Lark on their way to party with classmates from Vermillion High School on May 29, 1971. Their bodies were never found.

Officials believe they found the Studebaker in Brule Creek in rural Beresford, S.D., on Monday. It was about a half mile from the gravel pit Jackson and Miller were believed to be going to when they disappeared.

Investigators plan to wade back into Brule Creek to continue to excavate material from the scene Tuesday. They'll also analyze material already recovered.

"Hopefully this is going to shed some light on this whole case," said Union County Sheriff Dan Limoges said Tuesday.

Authorities tried to raise the vehicle from the creek, but stopped because the vehicle was in poor condition. It now rests in water shallow enough for crime scene investigators to wade out and collect material. Authorities stayed overnight with the vehicle to preserve the scene.

Limoges wouldn't say what officials have found so far or reveal whether human remains were located.

A South Dakota State Penitentary inmate, David Lykken, of rural Alcester, S.D., was indicted in the case in 2007. The murder charges were dismissed when authorities learned the jail house informant who claimed to have taped Lykken confessing to the crimes had faked the recordings. The informant, Aloysius Black Crow, pleaded guilty to perjury in 2008.

Officials wouldn't say whether Lykken was still a suspect in the case. They said their focus is on bringing closure to the Jackson and Miller families.

* The missing girls were Pamella Jackson and Cheryl Miller. This version of the story has been updated to reflect the correct last names.


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The question pops quickly to mind, it's so obvious. It's been asked many, many times since Sept. 23, when a passerby noticed a 1960 Studebaker -- last seen on May 29, 1971, with Pamella Jackson and Cheryl Miller inside -- poking out of Brule Creek.

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