White County Police confirmed the discovery of a car on December 1 that matched the one driven by Erin Foster, 18, and Jeremy Bechtel, 17, who were reported missing in April 2000.
Jeremy Beau Sides, whose YouTube channel is called Exploring with the Nug, told CNN that he came across the unsolved case while searching a database of missing persons.
“When I saw two teenagers disappear and disappear in a car, that really caught my attention,” Sides said. “When I looked at the town where they were last seen, I saw a big river running through it. That told me to go.”
Sides, who describes himself as a one-man crew and does all of his own filming and editing, grabbed his gear and went to Sparta, the county seat of White County, Tennessee.
His first search was unsuccessful, but the search video was brought to the attention of White County Sheriff Steve Page in late November by a member of Foster’s family. Page said in a statement that he reached out to Sides to suggest looking for a different location along the Calfkiller River.
And that’s where Sides made the discovery. His video shows the moment.
“Wow, okay, that’s 100% a car in front of my face,” he says while looking at the sonar. “I’ve been looking all day and I finally found a car.”
Upon receiving the call from Sides, the police team “arrived at the scene within minutes to investigate, leading to the confirmed match of the vehicle,” police said.
The discovery was exciting, but “sad because that means two teenagers have passed away,” Sides said.
He said he hoped this could help bring some peace to the families of the missing teens. “Ultimately, I just want to help,” he said.
The remains in the car have yet to be identified and will be sent for genetic DNA testing and possible comparisons with dental records, authorities said, according to CNN affiliate WTVF.
Major John Meadows, the lead investigator on the case, were classmates of the two teens.
“It is very humbling to be able to be a part of something that will bring so much closure to so many families,” he told WTVF.