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Car found submerged in pond may be major break in 2013 missing person case

Courtesy: Camden County Sheriff
Car found submerged in pond, Dec. 16, 2023
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Courtesy: Camden County Sheriff
Divers searching pond, Dec. 16, 2023


A car belonging to a missing man was found submerged in a pond in Southern Camden County.

Camden County Sheriff's Office found the car Saturday after a tip from a property owner and freelance videographer, according to a news release. The car, a light-colored Hyundai, belonged to Donald L. Erwin, who has been missing since 2013. The Camden County Sheriff called this a "major break" in the decade-old missing person case.

Erwin was 59 years old at the time of his disappearance, he would now be 69 years old. He has brown hair, brown eyes and is missing part of his left leg. It's been almost ten years since he was last seen on Dec. 29, 2013.

Erwin's family has been notified about the development in the case. The case is still an active investigation as the car and pond are searched for any more evidence.

James Hinkle is the owner of Sounds Like Video; he's a freelance videographer and drone pilot who runs a YouTube channel called Echo Divers. Hinkle is working with Beyond the Case and a behavioral analyst to conduct an independent investigation into Erwin's disappearance.

Hinkle was searching the area for anything related to Erwin, and thought he saw a car submerged in a small pond on private property, according to the release.

"The day that the car the car was discovered, it just happened to be one of the locations that I had planned on flying over to see if if there was a vehicle there and sure enough, Donny's vehicle was there," said Hinkle.

Hinkle contacted the property owner, who allowed him to search the area on foot and by kayak. That's when Hinkle found a light-colored car submerged in the pond, according to the release.

The property owner contacted a Camden County Sheriff's detective. The detective, other members of the Sheriff's Office and Mid-Missouri County Fire Protection District Dive Team met Hinkle and the property owner to search the pond. They were able to verify the license plate matched Erwin's missing Hyundai, according to the release.

Check back for updates.

Article Topic Follows: Camden

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Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.


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