SD officials say Pam Jackson & Cheryl Miller died in a car accid - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

SD officials say Pam Jackson & Cheryl Miller died in a car accident, no foul play

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Pam Jackson and Cheryl Miller Pam Jackson and Cheryl Miller
ELK POINT, S.D. (KTIV) - For 42-years two families have waited, and wondered what happened to their teenage daughters. Pam Jackson and Cheryl Miller disappeared on their way to a party in 1971, but never made it.

Seven months ago, the first real break in the case. Under a rural Union County, South Dakota, bridge, searchers found a car. many hoped it was the girls' car. Tuesday came confirmation, and closure. Marty Jackley, South Dakota Attorney General said, "There were 42 years of searching by family members by local law enforcement."

A desperate search spanning decades, for two missing Southeast South Dakota teens. "Today we are announcing that the remains found in the car are that of Pam Jackson and Cheryl Miller," Jackley said.

After years and years, at the Brule Creek, the pieces of this puzzle finally started to come together on September 23, 2013
"It was on that date, that the sheriff's office was advised of a vehicle turned over in Brule Creek," Jackley said.

In that old Studebaker was a purse. Cheryl Miller's purse. Her drivers license, change, and notes from friends preserved inside. "When Pam Jackson left that evening, May 29th, 1972 she did into have any person items," Jackley said.

However, months of DNA testing of bone fragments found inside shoes and clothing revealed that the two people inside that car were indeed the two missing teens. "Based upon the totality of the evidence, 42-year worth in the while, as well as the information found on 9/23/13, it's consistent with a car accident," Jackley said.

Jackley says the two most likely scenarios are that either the girls didn't see the bridge, which had just been built the previous year and drove off the road, or perhaps they blew a tire. "There's evident of one of the tires certainly damaged," Jackley said.

Authorities say they'll never know for sure whether that caused the accident or happened later, but the answers they did uncover, give the families peace of mind. Dan Limoges, Union County Sheriff said, "You can see a big relief." And, it's also brought a sense of closure to the community. "There's always questions that maybe never will be answered, but it is closure, I believe it is. Case closed."

Cheryl Miller's family issued a statement that reads in part, "Our day has come through this journey for answers pertaining to our beloved sister Cheri and dear friend Pam. We have now been able to carry out our mother's last wish."

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ELK POINT, S.D. (KTIV) - The families of Cheryl Miller and Pam Jackson finally have answers, nearly 43-years after their disappearance near Beresford, South Dakota.

In September, the two teens' car was discovered upside down in the Brule Creek.

Authorities have now identified the remains found in that old Studebaker as those of Cheryl Miller and Pam Jackson.

Investigators knew the car was tied to the case because of the license plate.But, it took months of forensics to positively identify the bone fragments found in shoes and other clothing that were preserved inside the car.

Tuesday, we not only learned who was in that car, but a little more about how they got in that creek.

South Dakota Attorney General, Marty Jackley said people who saw the girls before they disappeared and other evidence indicates they had not been drinking.

He said this bridge was built just months before so they may not have been familiar with it and accidentally drove into the creek.

They also think it could have blown a tire, one of the tires was also damaged.

But authorities said they'll never know if that was because of the accident or happened in the decades it sat in the creek.

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ELK POINT, S.D. (KTIV) - Authorities released information of their investigation into the 1971 disappearance of two South Dakota teens.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said Pam Jackson and Cheryl Miller died in a car accident.

Jackley said there was no evidence of foul play involved in the crash.

He shared the results of forensic testing of the human remains found last September in an upside down Studebaker pulled from a creek.

Record flooding followed by a drought brought the vehicle into view.

Cheryl Miller and Pamela Jackson, of Vermillion, were last seen in the car on their way to a party in May 1971.

Jackley said a mechanical test points away from foul play because the car was in third gear, the highest.

A forensic pathologist confirmed skeletal remains found in the car are consistent with being from two different people.

Members of the Miller and Jackson family were present today in Elk Point but they didn't wish to speak.

Jackley read a statement from them.

KTIV's Kristen Johnson is in Elk Point and will have details on News 4 LIVE at 5.

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South Dakota authorities will release more information about the 1971 disappearance of two teenage girls from Vermillion, South Dakota.

Attorney General Marty Jackley, the Union County state's attorney and the sheriffs of Union and Clay Counties have scheduled a news conference for 1:30 in Elk Point.

They'll discuss forensic testing done on remains believed to be those of Pamela Jackson and Cheryl Miller.They disappeared while on their way to a party almost 43-years-ago.

Last September, the car they were in was discovered upside down in Brule Creek, just about a mile from where the party was being held.

The remains inside the car were sent to University of North Texas, where experts in mitochondrial DNA testing worked to identify them.


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