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A YouTuber has helped advance a cold case in Tennessee after discovering a car belonging to two teenagers who disappeared 21 years ago.
Erin Foster, 18, and Jeremy Bechtel, 17, were last seen in Foster’s car following a party on April 3, 2000, according to Knox News. In November, Youtuber Jeremy Beau Sides, scuba diver who chronicles his efforts working on missing persons cases on his "Exploring With Nug" page, helped crack the case wide open when he discovered the 1998 Pontiac Grand Am in the Calfkiller River in Central Tennessee.
White County Sheriff Steve Page heard of Sides' efforts through a relative of Foster and was able to help the YouTuber narrow in on a specific location.
“On Nov. 11, 2021, while attending church, Sheriff Page was talking to a member of Erin Foster’s family. They had asked him if he had seen the video of a man, ‘Exploring With Nug,’ and Sheriff said ‘No,’ but asked her to send him the link to the website,” according to the sheriff’s page. “Sheriff stated when he got home, he looked at the video and contacted the man.”
Sheriff Page told Sides he might be looking in the wrong location, prompting Sides to search the Calfkiller River near Highway 84.
The following day, Sides found the vehicle with remains belonging to two people inside. Though the families were notified, the bodies have yet to be positively identified.
Sides posted a video of the dive and recovery on his Youtube page, filming the car’s details, including the license plate, while underwater.
For years, the case ran cold, despite tips that led authorities to search for Foster in Pensacola, Florida in 2005 and 2006, according to Knox News. Investigators also followed up on rumors that someone had murdered the pair and dumped their bodies in an abandoned well in White County. Other theories surrounding their disappearances included robberies gone wrong, drug deals, and running off together.
Jeremy Bechtel’s mother, Rhonda Ledbetter, spoke with Knox News in 2012.
“I don’t believe they got out of White County that night,” said Ledbetter.
While it’s not clear as to how Foster and Bechtel entered the river, it puts to rest the rumors that ran rampant in Sparta in the years following. In 2012, White County Detective Christopher Isom claimed there were several persons of interest in the case, including Foster’s ex-boyfriend, according to Knox News. Isom also indicated he believed that Foster was sighted down in Florida.
According to Foster’s campaign, Jeremy Sides contacted them through their “Justice For Jeremy Bechtel and Erin Foster” Facebook page last October, offering his services free of charge and with his own equipment.
“The day we thought may never come did, and stunned us all, leaving our heads spinning and our hearts happy yet heavy,” the GoFundMe page stated. “Finally, their [sic] going home. We cannot thank Jeremy enough for finally helping to bring us some closure.”
Sides, whose page has more than 171,000 subscribers, dives rivers and lakes “recovering lost or stolen property, clean up the waterways, and help bring closure to families in need.”
Sheriff Steve Page said the case is still under investigation and expects to share more information as it comes.
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