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Another Car, Another Watery Grave, Another Cold Case Solved?

An undated photo provided by the South Dakota Attorney General's Office shows a Studebaker found this week in a creek near Elk Point, S.D. Two teenage girls from the area were last seen May 29, 1971, driving a car like it. Remains found in the vehicle may be those of the two teenagers.

Just one week after the discovery of two long-lost cars in an Oklahoma lake and what appear to be the remains of six long-lost people inside them, a 1960 Studebaker Lark has been recovered from a creek in South Dakota.

It's thought that the skeletal remains inside the Studebaker may be those of two 17-year-old girls from Vermillion, S.D., who disappeared in 1971 as they were headed "to a nearby gravel pit for a party with classmates."

According to Sioux Falls' Argus Leader, "the car was discovered by a passerby Monday morning under a bridge on Brule Creek east of Interstate 29 between Beresford and Elk Point. The vehicle was removed from the creek Tuesday afternoon. ... Investigators said Sherri Miller and Pam Jackson last were seen traveling in the vehicle May 29, 1971."

The gravel pit they were headed to was "less than a half-mile from the creek," the Argus Leader adds.

It could be some time before it's known for sure whether the girls' remains have been found. In the Oklahoma cases, authorities have said it may be years before tests confirm the identities of those found in the cars.

The Sioux City Journalreminds its readers that a state prison inmate "was indicted on murder charges in the [missing girls'] case in 2007. The charges were dismissed when authorities learned the jail house informant who claimed to have taped [the inmate] confessing to the alleged crimes had faked the recordings. The informant, Aloysius Black Crow, pleaded guilty to perjury in 2008."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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