TAMPA, Florida (TodayNews) — A ’70s-era sunken car was found in the Tarpon Lake channel Friday night, according to a volunteer search and rescue team.
Sunshine State Sonar, a group of people searching for human remains in Florida’s waterways, said they found the submerged car while searching for a missing woman named Brenda Starr.
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However, instead of Starr’s 1993 Mazda Protégé, the team received a sonar signal from another vehicle at a depth of 15 feet.
“By removing parts from the car, we were quickly able to determine that it was an early 1970s Chevy Vega,” Sunshine State Sonar said in a Facebook post.
A member of Sunshine State Sonar told 8 On Your Side that using an app called NamUs, they were able to find out if missing people who were last seen with Vega were missing.
As it turns out, the 17-year-old twin sisters were last seen in a 1979 Chevrolet Vega, according to Sunshine State Sonar. Their names were Peggy and Patty McDaniel.
Patty McDaniel (Photo courtesy FDLE) Patty McDaniel (Photo credits FDLE)
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported that the twin sisters were last seen in the Pompano Beach area on September 15, 1979. If they were still alive, the sisters would be 61 years old.
The website for the National System of Missing and Unidentified Persons, which is run by the US Department of Justice, says the twins were supposed to go to a disco called The Plank. Four days later, their associate was found dead in the trunk of a car.
Despite identifying the car, the group stated that they could not say or hint that the car was connected to the sisters’ disappearance at this time. They also said it was impossible to tell if there were human remains at the site.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said police responded to a flooded vehicle after it was found by two members of the Sunshine State Sonar search team.
The sheriff’s office said the investigation is still active and a team of divers will be sent later to evaluate the car.
This isn’t the first time Sunshine State Sonar’s efforts have uncovered a missing person case that has dragged on for decades.
In April, the team helped find a vehicle and human remains linked to the disappearance of Robert Helfrey. The Pinellas County Medical Examiner’s Office later confirmed that the remains belonged to Helfrey, who went missing in 2006.