Could remains found in sunken car in Ohio River be missing Brookville man?

UPDATE: The registration found in the submerged vehicle shows it was registered to the missing man.

A fisherman discovered a vehicle in the Ohio River in Aberdeen, which later was discovered to contain unidentified skeletal remains.

Investigators said the vehicle had likely been in the water for years, our media partners at WCPO-TV in Cincinnati reported.

Now, one woman thinks the remains are that of her uncle, 85-year-old Jesse Flaughter of Brookville, who was last seen Oct. 2, 2006.

Belinda Dolan said if she’s right, the discovery would bring her family bittersweet closure after 13 years of suspecting but never knowing what happened to her uncle.

“We knew that he had some kind of illness” before his disappearance, she said. He also was a recent widower, Dolan said, and the night before he vanished he laid a folder containing his driver’s license and other personal documents on his sister’s doorstep, she told WCPO.

“His body’s not been found and his family, of course, is from Aberdeen, Ripley, Ohio,” Dolan said. “We just figured that ... we suspected that he drove his car into the river.”

Flaughter was declared dead in absentia years ago.

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The remains were discovered Wednesday when the vehicle was recovered during an Ohio Task Force 1 scheduled diving exercise.

She was at work Wednesday when she overheard the news that a car had been pulled out of the river. When she saw pictures online, she said she thought she recognized Flaughter’s old red 1998 Buick LaSabre under rust and water damage. That was when she called WCPO.

A second vehicle also was submerged in the area; however, Aberdeen Police Chief David Benjamin said it was not believed to be connected to the vehicle where the remains were found.

The Brown County Coroner’s Office and Brown County Sheriff’s Office are assisting in the investigation, WCPO reported.

Additional information was not immediately available.

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