Remains of Auburn student identified nearly 5 decades after his disappearance

The remains of an Auburn University student who disappeared in 1976 have been identified, ending a mystery that has baffled investigators for nearly five decades, authorities said.

Kyle Clinkscales, 22, was returning to school from LaGrange, Georgia, the night of Jan. 27, 1976, when he vanished. He was last seen at the Moose Club in LaGrange with his 1974 Ford Pinto, according to officials.

Over the years, authorities drained lakes looking for him and the car. A break in the case came Dec. 7, 2021, after someone spotted the white Ford Pinto in a creek in Cusseta, Alabama, and called 911, officials said.

Image: Kyle Clinkscales (Troup County Sheriff’s Office)

A wallet, ID, credit cards and bones were inside the car.

The skeletal remains were turned over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to run DNA analysis.

On Sunday, authorities announced a match in the case.

“The Troup County Sheriff’s Office was notified by the Troup County Coroner’s Office that those remains were positively identified as that of Kyle Clinkscales,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

The manner and cause of death are unknown.

“Everybody was always wondering if he was going to show up somewhere,” Lauren Griffen, a friend of Clinkscales, told NBC affiliate WXIA of Atlanta.

She said they met about a year before his disappearance, adding everyone in the town knew him. “His personality was just charming. He was a sweet guy. Most of the time he was very quiet. But he was very kind to everyone,” Griffen said.

Clinkscales’ mother died this past January, and his father died in 2007, according to the news station.

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