Search crews pulled from the Ohio River in Indiana an SUV that belonged to an Ohio mother missing since 2002 along with her two young children, authorities said Friday.
Side sonar scan technology led divers to the 1997 Nissan Pathfinder almost buried in mud at the bottom of the river on Thursday near Aurora in southeastern Indiana, across the state border from where the family lived in Ohio, Indiana State Police said Friday in a news release.
The vehicle was registered to Stephanie Van Nguyen, who in 2002 disappeared with her four-year-old daughter, Kristina, and three-year-old son, John.
Van Nguyen left a note that she was going to drive into the Ohio River, but her vehicle was not located at the time, police said.
Dive teams are seen searching the Ohio River near Aurora, Illinois for the vehicle this week.
Advances in sonar technology and the looming anniversary prompted cops to reopen the case 6months ago.
Ohio, police Lt. Joe Macaluso told reporters Thursday that it was too early to tell if any bodies were in the SUV.
The vehicle was transported to a secure location where Indiana State Police Investigators will examine it to determine if the remains of Nguyen or her two children are inside.
Searchers found the vehicle more than 50 feet below the river’s surface and about 300 feet from the riverbank.
‘Over the past 6 months since the case was reopened, teams have been scanning the Ohio River, but it wasn’t until last week that unique objects in the water were found that looked promising,’ the Delhi Police Department said in a statement.