It was 1970 and the night of a football game. Jimmy Allen Williams was 16, and he was probably on top of the world.
Just six days earlier, he got himself a blue 1969 Camaro with a white top, considered a primo muscle car back then. And what better way to help break in his new wheels than by taking a drive with a couple of friends?
So 18-year-olds Leah Gail Johnson and Thomas Michael Rios — fellow residents with Williams of Sayre, Oklahoma — piled into the sports car and the trio were supposedly headed for the game.
They were never heard from again.
And this wasn't the first such disappearance in Sayre. Just a year before 69-year-old John Alva Porter was in a green '52 Chevy with Cleburn Hammack, 42, and Nora Marie Duncan, 58. The car needed a push to help get it started, and that was the last time anyone saw them.
But just over a year ago when Oklahoma Highway Patrol was conducting a sonar test in murky Foss Lake, officers turned up two cars — a blue 1969 Camaro and a green 1952 Chevy, both with human remains inside.
This week, DNA tests prove that the bodies are those of both sets of missing people, CNN reported. The state Medical Examiner’s Office said all six died from drowning and their deaths were accidental, CNN added.
The medical examiner had determined last year that remains from the 1969 disappearance matched those of Porter, Hammack, and Duncan, the network added.
Dayva Spitzer, publisher of The Sayre Record & Beckham County Democrat newspaper, told CNN that one of the missing teens, Leah Gail Johnson, was a Native American and related to Sitting Bull. Residents of the town viewed Johnson as an Indian princess, Spitzer told the network.
Officials also hypothesize that the trio of teens may have gone hunting instead of going to a football game, as two rusted rifles also were found in Williams' Camaro. The Doe Network, a volunteer organization that helps law enforcement solve cold cases, offered details about the night of the teens' disappearance.
Debbie McManaman, granddaughter of John Alva Porter, told CNN she used to come to the lake frequently and wonder if her grandfather had ended up in it.
"Maybe Grandpa's in the lake," she said she used to say, peering out over the water. "Maybe he had an accident and is in the lake."
Now the wondering can be laid to rest.
This story has been updated.