Dozens of submerged vehicles found in Florida lake in cold-case search
An effort that started with a private search company working missing persons’ cold cases led a team of divers to find nearly three dozen cars under water in a South Florida lake, police confirmed.
Investigators Doug Bishop and Ken Fleming told local 7News on Sunday they found 32 cars while diving in a murky lake in Doral, Florida just west of Miami International Airport.
The body of water where the divers found the vehicles is in a commercial area surrounded by businesses including a Walmart Supercenter, a car dealership and several popular chain restaurants.
Updates from DoralMiami police being pulling cars submerged from a Doral lake. Here’s what they found so far.
Bishop is an investigator with United Search Corps a non-profit group based in South Beach that aims to crack missing person cold cases.
Underwater video footage obtained by the outlet shows one of the divers swim across one of the discovered vehicles.
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Doral Police Department Cmdr. Alicia Neal told USA TODAY the department is working with “multiple agencies” to investigate the men’s findings.
“We have been informed that a private search company possibly located multiple sunken vehicles in the area of 9064 NW 13th Terrace,” Neal said. “We will continue to gather further information in the coming days.”
Miami-Dade Police Department Detective Luis Sierra confirmed the agency is investigating the case and plans to remove the vehicles from the water.
“We are coordinating with our divers and looking to pull out the vehicles sometime tomorrow,” Sierra said Monday. “Time is still TBD.”
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‘Hiding them from law enforcement’
Neither the company, Bishop or Fleming could immediately be reached by USA TODAY Monday morning.
But the team told the local TV station it has found 60 submerged vehicles across Florida, some of which could be linked to crimes.
“When we discover a spot like this with multiple vehicles, it pretty much indicates that a crime (took place) where they’re disposing the vehicles and hiding them from law enforcement,” Fleming told the outlet.
Bishop said the team works to provide answers to families of missing people.
“Departments, respectfully, have to justify their use of resources, and when a case goes cold, we have the ability to step in,” Bishop told the outlet. “We don’t have to justify our use of resources, and we can help eliminate the drag on personnel locally. We can do this, we specialize in it, we can do it on a high level and do so as volunteers.”
Natalie Neysa Alund covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at email@example.com and follow her on X, formerly known as Twitter, @nataliealund.