Classmate recalls seeing Cheryl Miller & Pam Jackson minutes before they disappeared
By Kristen Johnson, Multimedia Journalist/ Weekend Anchor - bio | email
VERMILLION, S.D. (KTIV) -
It couldbe weeks before we know the truth behind the deaths of Pam Jackson and Cheryl Miller.
Authorities think the girls' remains were inside a car recovered from the Brule Creek, near Spink, South Dakota, this week.
Classmates of the two are giving us insight into the last moments the girls were seen alive.
On May 29th, 1971, Pam Jackson and Cheryl Miller were headed here, to an end of the year party with the rest of their junior class, but they never made it, and up until this week, no one ever knew what happened to them. Now, some of those who last saw them alive are speaking out.
"We just passed the word around, there was a class party down at the gravel pits," remembered Dwight Iverson, a classmate of the girls.
Cheryl and Pam decided to follow three of their classmates, Mark Logterman, Pat Gale, and Steve Glass.
"Pam and Cheryl were behind us. We took the right turn onto this gravel road, and the gravel pit was on the left hand side of the road," recalled Logterman.
However, the boys missed the turn, and drove past the party.
"When we stopped at the bottom of the hill to turn around we never saw their headlights behind us anymore," Logterman said.
He figured Pam and Cheryl had not missed the turn, and were at the party. They weren't.
Iverson says when the girls didn't come back, many people assumed they just ran off to hippie commune or drove to California. Those who knew them, knew that probably wasn't the case.
"They wouldn't have done that. They were good old farm girls, very family oriented, very church oriented," Iverson said.
Pat and Steve were interviewed by the Union County Sheriff. Logterman has never been questioned about that night. In fact, this is the first time he's ever spoken publicly about the case.
"It always struck me as very odd. Not that I could have added anything to what Pat and Steve said, but it seems like you don't leave any stone unturned," Logterman said.
It seems to some, that the authorities at the time didn't pay much attention to what the boys told them.
"It should have been easy to find them. They're somewhere between point A and point B, and the only thing there is a creek," Iverson pointed out.
Iverson remembers the sheriff's search focused elsewhere.
"He wanted to search the Missouri River. He saw tracks going into the Missouri River. We knew they weren't down there," he said.
In Vermillion, the recent discovery of the girls' car, and possibly their remains has the town talking.
"I've probably talked to five or six classmates in the last 24-hours," said Iverson.
To those who were at the gravel pit that fateful night, the truth behind their classmates' disappearance no longer seems a mystery.
"It just makes sense that that's where it would be. Now that we know we can look back and, my gosh it's so easy to figure out. That's the only place it could have been," said Iverson.
For Mark Logterman that leaves one burning question.
"If this bridge was on that road and when we turned around and went back they had gone off the road, we just drove past them and didn't even know it," he wondered.
The answers may seem obvious to some, but authorities say there are still many questions.
They hope the human remains and other evidence collected from the 1960 Studebaker they unearthed yesterday will tell them whether the deaths were a tragic accident, or foul play.
They also haven't determined how the car ended up on the Brule Creek.
"We may have some further questions answered, but we need to give it time, and we need to have an opportunity for law enforcement as well as the forensics experts to do their job and preserve the evidence," Marty Jackley said this week.
It could be several weeks before the forensics are back on the human bones found at the scene.
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