Human remains have been located inside a vehicle pulled from Melton Hill Lake on Wednesday. The vehicle belonged to Miriam Ruth Hemphill, who was reported missing in Oak Ridge in July 2005, the Oak Ridge Police Department said.
“At this time, Oak Ridge Police Department investigators and the medical examiner’s office are working together to process the vehicle,” a press release said. “The medical examiner’s office is also working to identify the remains. It’s unclear how long it will take to identify them.”
It is not clear whether the remains found in the vehicle are Hemphill’s, the press release said.
Members from the Blount Special Operations Response Team–which includes members from the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Blount County Rescue Squad, Maryville Police Department, and the Alcoa Fire Department–helped ORPD recover the vehicle after the police department received a tip from private divers about the vehicle Wednesday afternoon. The vehicle was pulled out of the water shortly before 8 p.m. Wednesday, the press release said.
“The Oak Ridge Fire Department also helped investigators with the processing and deconstruction of the vehicle Thursday morning as crews sorted through the silt and mud that had accumulated over the years it was under water,” the press release said.
Anyone with information that may help investigators is asked to call ORPD at (865) 425-4399. Crime tips can also be submitted online at http://oakridgetn.gov/department/ORPD/Home. Information can be given anonymously.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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