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Remains found in lake likely Air Force veteran missing for 43 years

By Danielle Haynes
A 1968 Pontiac Catalina was pulled from Lake Rhodiss in North Carolina recently and is believed to contain the remains of a man who was reported missing 43 years ago. Photo courtesy of Caldwell County, N.C., Sheriff's Office/Facebook
A 1968 Pontiac Catalina was pulled from Lake Rhodiss in North Carolina recently and is believed to contain the remains of a man who was reported missing 43 years ago. Photo courtesy of Caldwell County, N.C., Sheriff's Office/Facebook

LENOIR, N.C., July 23 (UPI) -- Investigators in North Carolina have likely found the remains of an Air Force veteran who was reported missing 43 years ago in a car at the bottom of a lake.

The family of Amos Shook first reported him missing Feb. 19, 1972, one day after his 14-year-old daughter, Pamela Shook Kolbe, noticed he hadn't returned home.

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"My parents were separated, so it was just the two of us living together," Kolbe, now 57, told WSOC-TV in Charlotte, N.C. "I got home probably around 8 p.m. that day, and he never showed back up. The next day when I got up he still wasn't there and neither was his car. I was scared."

At first, it was believed Shook left his daughter without saying anything, but she said she knew he would have gotten in contact with her over the years if he was alive.

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The recent search for Shook was prompted by a visit Kolbe made to the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office seeking a copy of the police report from her father's disappearance.

Det. Sgt. Shelly Hartley of the sheriff's office told NBC News no one was able to find the report, and he asked the local fire department to search near Lake Rhodhiss.

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"The fact that he went missing with a car and the car had never been located -- generally we find a car," Hartley said. "My belief is if you don't find a car in 43 years, it's in the water somewhere probably."

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The 1968 Pontiac Catalina was found at the bottom of the lake with sonar technology and inside were human remains and Shook's wallet. Investigators were still waiting for official confirmation the remains belong to Shook.

Kolbe said she learned of the discovery when her cousin -- who works for the sheriff's office -- called her.

"He said, 'Pam, we found your daddy's car.' It was like I lost all of my blood," Kolbe said. "It was so overwhelming for me."

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Kolbe said the news came as a relief. Shook was declared legally dead about nine years after his disappearance, and in the early 1990s the family purchased a gravestone for him and held a memorial service.

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