http://mayescounty.com/?p=643Cold case from Sayre comes to county
SALINA - They did not find a 1969 Chevy Camaro in Lake Hudson.
They did not find three bodies.
But the Lake Patrol Division of Oklahoma Highway Patrol had an opportunity to test the new “tow” on its “side scan sonar” last Monday during investigation of a 39-year-old “cold case” out of Beckham County, which is in far western Oklahoma (not Panhandle).
The new “tow” attachment to the side scan sonar enables OHP to search a 70- to 80-foot range instead of a 30- to 40-foot range, according to Captain Mike Mize.
Jimmy Williams, 16, Leah Johnson, 17, and Thomas Michael Rios, 18 - all students at Sayre High School — disappeared on Friday night, Nov. 20, 1970.
“They were last seen in downtown Sayre,” said Gary Williams, younger brother of Jimmy — and 12 years old at the time of the disappearance of the Caucasian male, Indian female and Mexican male.
“Jimmy’s Social Security number has never been used since that time and the vehicle identification number has never turned up,” said Williams.
Williams recently contacted Capt. Mize about the cold case, and OHP agreed that when the bulk of the boating season came to a close this year they would conduct a search on Lake Hudson.
The two OHP officers arrived last Monday and Grand River Dam Authority lake patrol officers came along to view the operation and the equipment that GRDA may be purchasing in the near future.
“Our guys gave it a full day, but they didn’t find any vehicles,” said Capt. Mize. “And that’s unusual. Usually, when we go out on drownings we find a car nearly every time.”
Capt. Mize said the geography and topography of Lake Hudson has changed in nearly four decades, but the officers searched near the edges and bluffs and bridges.
“We didn’t find anything, but our guys got a chance to work with the new tow and GRDA lake patrol had an opportunity to see how the equipment operates,” said Capt. Mize.
Why Lake Hudson when Sayre is on the other side of Oklahoma?
Anonymous information with a hint of truth was obtained suggesting that the vehicle may be found in the river in the Markham Ferry vicinity, and Markham Ferry is the way people used to make passage from one side of Lake Hudson to the other before bridges.
Williams also was told one day about five months ago that his brother’s disappearance came up in internet conversation on a site known as “Topics.”
Williams checked out the web site and, since that time, there have been 4,500 posts on the disappearance of the three Sayre teens - almost 40 years ago.
“There’s lots of misinformation in there and everyone has a theory about what happened,” said Williams, who noted that the Sayre newspaper did one story about the missing teens 39 years ago and the Daily Oklahoman did a follow-up 14 months later. And he said that has been the entirety of the media coverage of this case.
“It didn’t bother me all that much because at least people were talking about it and that puts it on the forefront.
“With people talking about it, the kids aren’t forgotten - and I think somebody out there knows something,” said Williams.
Williams is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of the blue Camaro with white top. The VIN number is #124379L517123 and the tag number on the vehicle was BK 3610.
“If we find the car the dominoes may start to fall,” said Williams.
Anyone with information to share should do so with Beckham County Undersheriff Mike Bagziz at 1-580-928-8952.