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Joplin Woman Waits to Learn if Body in Submerged Car is Her Mother

JOPLIN, Mo. -- A Joplin woman may soon know what happened to her mother more than 40 years ago.
It will bring closure to me. For 40 some odd years I wondered what happened to her
JOPLIN, Mo. -- A Joplin woman may soon know what happened to her mother more than 40 years ago. Clara Jo Irick was notified by authorities, her mother Nora Duncan maybe one of 6 people found in Foss Lake near Elk City earlier this week.

Irick was just 39 years old when her mom went missing in 1969 from Canute, Oklahoma. Her family says she may have been with two other people at the time of her disappearance.

Tuesday, authorities found two cars and six bodies in Foss Lake while testing sonar equipment. Officials say Duncan may have been in a 50's model Chevy, found in the lake. Irick says her uncle always believed Duncan was somehow in the lake. Last year, Irick turned over some of her mother's DNA to an anthropologist, so if remains were ever found, they could be identified. Even though it could still be weeks before Irick finds out if one of the remains is her mother, she says it brings her peace getting this mystery possibly solved.

"It will bring closure to me, for 40 some odd years I wondered what happened to her and I hoped with in my lifetime I would find out," said Clara Jo Irick, Victim's Daughter.

Irick says while her mother's disappearance and this case has been an ordeal for her, she is glad to see some progress in the investigation. She hopes to bring her mother's remains home and get a tombstone, so she has a place to mourn.


(story contributed by KODE/KSN, Joplin, MO)


RELATED: Families hope Foss Lake find brings closure

He was here one day and next day he was gone, no trace, no clue at all.
CUSTER COUNTY, Okla. -- It may be years before we learn the identities of six bodies found inside two cars buried at the bottom of a lake in Oklahoma.

The discovery of two sunken cars in Foss Lake in western Oklahoma has stunned people around here and they're wondering if this is really the answer to not one mystery, but two."

These cars have spent more than 40 years at the bottom of Foss Lake in western Oklahoma . Investigators can peel apart the metal and hardware with their bare hands as they look for clues; 2 corroded rifles, a muddied wallet and purse and the remains of 6 people, 3 in each car.

It's one fluke discovery found that might have solved 2 long-forgotten mysteries.

In 1970, 3 teenagers in a 1969 Camaro disappeared: The mystery of what happened to Jimmy Williams, Michael Rios and Leah Johnson made headlines in the local newspapers.
And the year before in April of 1969, John "Alvie" Porter and 2 friends were driving around in a 1950s Chevy and never seen again.

More than 40 years later, 2 cars matching those descriptions were found sitting right next to each other in this lake.
"It's been so long, it's been 44 years you know, there's a lot of things in between there we don't know, it's like through the years, what happened, what happened? It's just a mystery, we don't know," says Debbie McManaman, the grandaughter of Alvie Porter.

McManaman was 13-years-old when her grandpa Porter vanished. "He was here one day and next day he was gone, no trace, no clue at all. His bank account there, his house was locked up, utilities were on, he just walked away."

Alvie Porter performed in wild, wild west shows riding bulls around Oklahoma.

Porter's oldest son, Ervie Porter, is now 85 and suffering from dementia. After investigators stopped looking for his father, he acted as his own detective, hunting down every clue he could.  "You spent a lot of time looking for him?"
"You betcha, still looking for him. But this is going to help me a whole lot."

Last week, Oklahoma Highway Patrol divers were testing new underwater sonar equipment when they discovered the two cars.  It wasn't until the cars were pulled out of the water Tuesday, that the bones were found inside. Divers went back in the water and found even more remains. The Oklahoma Medical Examiner will use DNA to identify the bodies. It could take days, maybe even years to do that.

Alexa White's mother was John Porter's sister. She hopes her mother can finally find the answers that have eluded their family for more than four decades.
"It has been difficult not knowing what did happen to her father, she never had that closure or that peace of mind, comfort, why can't we find what happened and I'm hoping that this will bring closure."

Investigators say they have not ruled out foul play yet, but they suspect that these six victims accidentally drowned, that the cars rolled back into the water, and the victims were trapped inside.



(Ed Lavandera, KFOR for CNN)

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