YouTuber helps police find bodies of teens who went missing 21 years ago

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A scuba diving YouTuber has discovered what’s believed to be the remains of two teenagers who disappeared more than 20 years at the bottom of a river in Tennessee.

Erin Foster, 18, and Jeremy Bechtel, 17, disappeared without a trace on April 3, 2000 after going out for a drive in the small town of Sparta, Tennessee.

Erin Foster, 18, and Jeremy Bechtel, 17 disappeared without a trace on April 3, 2000 after going out for a drive in the small town of Sparta, Tennessee. Source: YouTube/Exploring with Nug
Erin Foster, 18, and Jeremy Bechtel, 17 went out for a drive in Sparta, Tennessee more than 20 years ago but were never seen again. Source: YouTube/Exploring with Nug

More than two decades on, video blogger Jeremy Sides, who runs the Exploring with Nug YouTube channel, has helped to crack the cold case that had stumped local detectives.

After taking an interest in the mystery, Mr Sides, who is known for investigating historical sites, began conducting search dives in surrounding waterways.

The newly elected local sheriff, Steve Page, heard about the probe while in church with the family of Erin Foster and reached out to the Vlogger on Facebook, according to the Independent.

The publication reports the sheriff told the Mr Sides that investigators might not have been searching in the correct area. 

A rusted 1998 Pontiac Grand Am that was found submerged in the Calikiller River with human remains inside. Source: White County Sheriff Office
A rusted 1998 Pontiac Grand Am that was found submerged in the Calikiller River with human remains inside. Source: White County Sheriff Office

Mr Sides eventually unearthed a rusted 1998 Pontiac Grand Am in the Calfkiller River using a sonar-equipped raft.

Police confirmed there were human remains inside the wreck and the licence plate matched the car the pair went missing in.

Testing underway to confirm identities 

Forensics are now combing over the car and are yet to officially confirm the identities of the bodies inside.

Authorities have warned it could take weeks of clearing out mud from the car and testing DNA and dental records before any are any definite answers.

“I’m lost for words. I’m so glad I could find them,” Mr Sides declared in a video after making the discovery.

“I’m so sad that that’s where they ended up. I can’t believe it’s been over 20 years they’ve been sitting there waiting for someone to find them.”

Video blogger Jeremy Sides, who runs the Exploring with Nug YouTube channel, in a sonar-equipped raft. Source: YouTube/Exploring with Nug
Video blogger Jeremy Sides, who runs the Exploring with Nug YouTube channel, has helped police crack the cold case. Source: YouTube/Exploring with Nug

The YouTuber then calls the sheriff to tell him about the major breakthrough.

“You know how big this is? …Brother, this is the case of a lifetime for me and you,” he responds.

The families of the two teenagers have been notified of the discovery.

Investigators believe it’s likely the teens lost control of the vehicle and accidentally crashed into the river however foul play hasn’t been ruled out.

“I prayed for this. I asked God to help me find these teens. To give closure to help this family finally be able to put this to rest and I think we’re going to be able to do that,” Sheriff Page told NewsChannel5 Nashville.

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