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Remains Of Pregnant Mother And Her Daughter, Missing Since 1998, Possibly Found By Diving Group

Adventures with Purpose divers may have found the body of Samantha Hopper and her daughter, Courtney, in a lake in Arkansas. 

By Gina Tron
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Human remains that are possbily of a pregnant mother and her daughter, who have been missing since 1998, were discovered in Arkansas by a group of diving sleuths last week, according to local police. 

The Pope County Sheriff’s Department said in a press release that a call was received on Tuesday from the non-profit diving team Adventures With Purpose stating that members of the group may have found a car belonging to missing mother Samantha Hopper, who disappeared 23 years ago. 

The group, which is dedicated to helping solve cold cases around the country, discovered a blue Ford Tempo at Lake Dardanelle. The nonprofit invesitgators began their search one day earlier in the area to locate Hopper, who vanished on Sept. 11, 1998 in Russellville, Arkansas when she was 19 years old.

Hopper vanished while driving her blue Ford Tempo with her 18-month old daughter, Courtney Holt, in the back seat, while they were en route to Little Rock; she was eight months pregnant at the time of her disappearence. Hopper, who worked at a local Waffle House, had dropped off her other daughter, Dezarae, with her mother before embarking on the drive.

The discovered car was removed from the lake last week with a crane and the human remains found inside were then sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab in Little Rock for DNA testing.

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Adventures with Purpose diver Jared Leisek noted on Facebook Live that there was a car seat found in the vehicle and that it's believed that Courtney's remains were also discovered, though this has not been verified by local authorties.

“We do have confirmation that Samantha was in the vehicle,” a spokesperson for the Pope County Sheriff's Department told Oxygen.com on Monday morning, adding that identification is still pending from the Arkansas State Crime Lab.

Hopper’s surviving daughter, Dezarae, has been working for years to find her mother, Fox News reported. She had requested assistance from Adventures with Purpose to assist local police.

“Dezarae, your mom loved you,” Leisek assured her in the Tuesday Facebook Live post. “She did not walk out on you and we have nothing more than an unfortunate accident.” 

Leisek claimed that Hopper's vehicle had ended up in the water after going over a bridge.

Pope County Sheriff Shane Jones expressed his condolences to the family.

“We are thankful to have been a small part of helping bring this 23-year-old case to closure,” he said.

Adventures with Purpose claims to have solved 16 missing person cold cases since 2019. They did immediately responded to Oxygen.com's request for comment on Monday.