Dedrick Bernard Smith was last heard from during a phone call on Oct. 4, 2006.
Later that day, his family contacted the Winston-Salem Police Department in North Carolina to report the 26-year-old missing. For more than 15 years, police said the circumstances behind his disappearance have remained a mystery, with “no viable leads” ever surfacing during their investigation — until now.
On the evening of Friday, April 1, the police department got a call from a member of Adventures with Purpose, a search and rescue dive team “dedicated to helping families of missing loved ones.”
The group said they believed they had found the 1993 Pontiac Grand Am that Smith was driving at the time of his disappearance submerged in the lake at Winston Lake Park, according to a Facebook post from the Winston-Salem Police Department.
Early the next day, detectives and members of the organization pulled the car out of the water, police said, and officials confirmed it belonged to Smith.
Human remains were discovered inside the Pontiac, according to police.
Detectives and the North Carolina Medical Examiner’s Office are working to identify the remains and to determine a cause of death, police said April 2.
“A next of kin for Dedrick Bernard Smith was notified of the discovery,” police said.
No other information had been released as of Sunday, April 3.
Winston-Salem is about 100 miles west of Raleigh.