Amos Shook was in his mid-40s when he went missing February 19, 1972. His daughter, Pamela, was just 14 at the time of his disappearance, and her father’s fate haunted her over the years. In June, she urged authorities to reopen the case. This time, the results were swift and startling.

Reports the Caldwell County, North Carolina Sheriff’s Office:

On Tuesday, July 21, 2015, Investigators with the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office and North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations along with the assistance of the North Catawba Fire and Rescue conducted a vehicle recovery operation at the Lake Rhodhiss Boat Access located on Waterworks Road. Investigators with the assistance of the North Catawba Fire and Rescue Dive Team were able to retrieve a Green 1968 Pontiac Catalina from approximately 30 feet of water. The 1968 Pontiac Catalina matches the car belonging to an individual that was reported missing to the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office on February 19, 1972.

The lake is located just a few miles from the town of Sawmills, NC, where Shook was living when he vanished. Inside the car, the team made a grim discovery, according to Morganton, NC’s News Herald:

The dive team located the vehicle by using sonar technology, according to the release. Officers processed the car on scene and found human remains inside, along with a wallet containing an ID with Shook’s name on it, the sheriff said.

Speaking from her home in Tennessee with Charlotte, NC’s WSOC News, Pamela Shook (now Pamela Shook Koble) expressed sadness and relief upon hearing the news from her cousin, who works in the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office.

He said, “Pam, we got your Daddy’s car.” It’s like I just lost all my blood.

Shook Koble noted that her father, an Air Force veteran, was separated from her mother and was raising her as a single dad at the time of his disappearance. Though some suspected Shook simply left town, she told WSOC News that if he were still alive, he would have tried to contact his family: “He was a good man. He was a good Daddy.”

The Sheriff’s Office, which plans to autopsy the remains for a positive identification, noted that there’s no apparent evidence of foul play. Still unknown, and possibly never to be known, is how Shook’s car plunged into Lake Rhodhiss all those years ago. Shook Koble told WSOC News that she plans to keep the rusty Pontiac as one of few remaining mementos of her beloved father.

Image via the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.