Muddy car brings nothing but questions

Published 11:25 am Friday, August 17, 2012

Warren County sheriff’s detectives are trying to learn how a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu ended up in the Mississippi River at LeTourneau Landing, Sheriff Martin Pace said.

He said the river’s low water level revealed the car, which was reported Wednesday afternoon by a passer-by who saw its red roof and trunk poking out of the mud.

A Warren County road crew used heavy equipment to pull the car from the silt Thursday afternoon, Pace said, adding no body or skeletal remains were found in the car.

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“We know the last entity to hold the title to the car was P.V. Holding Co. of Atlanta, which is a company that rents cars,” he said. “We know that it was last registered in Virginia and was sold at auction in either 2008 or 2009. We are still trying to get information from the holding company on when and where it was auctioned off.”

Pace said a check of insurance claims through the Mississippi Insurance Commissioner’s Office and through the National Crime Information Computer system indicated the car was not stolen and was not used in a crime.

He said detectives also are working with the National Automobile Theft Bureau to determine if it has any records or reports on the car.

“We don’t know how long the car has been down there, but we know it was there long enough for the silt to overtop it,” he said. “It took about six hours to remove it from the silt. That mud acts like a suction; it really held it in. If the river had been at its normal stage, we never would have seen it.”

The Mississippi River level at Vicksburg, the lowest since 1988, was at 0.7 feet this morning, up 0.2 from Thursday.