YouTube video helps solve mystery of man missing for 10 years

YouTuber finds remains 'of man missing for 10 years'
The discovery of the Hyundai gave the first clue towards the finding of the missing man (Picture: Camden County Sheriff’s Office)

The remains of a man who went missing in 2013 have been found with the help of a YouTube channel.

The Camden County Sheriff’s Office in Missouri said human remains were found after a vehicle was spotted by a YouTuber.

James Hinkle, who was flying a drone to film for his YouTube channel Echo Divers, noticed the vehicle was submerged in a private pond while completing his own investigation to try and find Donnie Erwin, who went missing 10 years ago.

Echo Divers describes itself as a scuba diving search and recovery team that works with law enforcement and families on missing person cases.

Its YouTube channel has 28 videos and states it uses drones as part of its efforts. 

Mr Hinkle said: ‘When I found out that Donnie was a veteran and lived an hour and a half from my home in Clinton, Missouri, I knew I could help with the search.’

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YouTuber finds remains 'of man missing for 10 years'
The remains of the man were found in this pond by divers (Picture: YouTube/Echo Divers)
YouTuber finds remains 'of man missing for 10 years'
YouTuber James Hinkle helped find the body with his research (Picture: YouTube/Echo Divers)

The sheriff’s office said on December 16 the drone footage had identified the car as one that belonged to Mr Erwin from its number plate, although the body had not been found.

But a week later divers and police dogs were brought in as part of a search effort and officers were eventually able to find the human remains.

They were able to make the link by discovery of ‘an artificial hip consistent with the one Mr Erwin had’, according to the sheriff’s office.

It is understood the body was identified on Christmas Eve. 

A statement from the sheriff’s office added: ‘While a forensic pathologist will have to examine the remains to determine for certain if they are indeed those of Mr Erwin, investigators are confident the hip and remains belong to him.’

YouTuber finds remains 'of man missing for 10 years'
Search efforts found the car submerged into the pond (Picture: YouTube/Echo Divers)
Divers were eventually able to find the body of Mr Ewin from a link to an artificial hip (Picture: YouTube / Echo Divers)
Divers were eventually able to find the body of Mr Ewin from a link to an artificial hip (Picture: YouTube / Echo Divers)

Mr Erwin had not been seen since December 29, 2013, at around 9am. His Hyundai was shown to be stained green from having been covered with moss when it was dredged from the pond. 

Mr Hinkle is understood to have worked with a friend to find the body. 

A Facebook group had been set up to help find Mr Erwin, who was 59 when he went missing, and has operated for the past decade.

A contributor to the group said: ‘This is the guy [who helped] James Hinkle of Echo Divers. There are not enough words to express our appreciation.’

A linked group called Chaos Divers also participated in the search and shared a statement which said: ‘With heavy hearts and angst, we announce the vehicle of 59-year-old Navy Veteran, Donnie Erwin, has been found and recovered.’

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