Investigation of Foss Lake cars continues

CUSTER COUNTY-- Investigators spend another day processing clues that could solve several cold cases at Foss Lake.

Park rangers found two cars submerged in the lake when they tested sonar devices. Law enforcement pulled the vehicles from Foss Lake Tuesday.

The two cars, one 1969 Camaro and another Chevy vehicle from the early 1950's could be linked to six missing person cases from four decades ago.

Custer County Sheriff's Office, Beckham County Sheriff's Office, OSBI, and the State Medical Examiner's office spent two days gathering evidence from both vehicles. As investigators recovered remains from the three bodies found in each vehicle, families of potential victims looked on.

Huddled in a big group next to the cars was the Porter Family, in the middle of the huddle was Ervie Porter.

Porter spent the more than 40 years searching for his father, John Alva Porter.

"People tell me well I saw your dad over here and over here and over here and you go check on it and there was nothing to it," said Sheriff Bruce Peoples, Custer County Sheriff's Office.

Porter sat in his in walker with a seat, as he watched investigators process evidence from an early 1950's Chevy vehicle. He stood up from his seat as deputies approached him throughout the afternoon hoping they would provide his family with information that would solve his family's 44-year old mystery.

"Now they can go on and know what happened to their relatives," said Sheriff Bruce Peoples, of Custer County Sheriff's Office.

Porter believes his father, John Alva Porter was trapped inside the old model Chevy. Porter says seeing that vehicle brings him some closure.

Porter's daughter showed Fox-25 crews a picture of John from 1920, bull riding at a local rodeo as a young man.

"Around horses he was the best," said Porter.

John disappeared in 1969 after going for drive with his sister and her husband. John was 69 at the time. Porter and his children say John and the couple always went for drives around the Foss Lake area.

Since John and his sister disappeared, the Porters have visited the lake often, but through all those trips to the marina, they never thought this would be where they'd find him.

Now the Porters must wait for a call from the Medical Examiner's Office. Investigators say given the state of the evidence and human remains, it will take a long time to confirm each victim's identity. Until that call comes, the Porters say they already have plans to give John a proper goodbye.

"They have already made arrangements along time ago, so he will be laid to rest," said Tim Porter, John's grandson.

Sheriff Peoples says processing the evidence could take years.

"It's just a fact of life that we have to be absolutely certain," he said, "and we would not want to accidentally identify something wrong and they certainly would not want us to."

Although it will be some time before Porter can lay his father to rest, he says its not too soon to tell people about what his father meant to their friends and family.

"My old dad never did have anything but I never saw a kid that didn't like him," said Porter.

John would have turned 113 years old in June. The Porters will bury his remains at a cemetery in Elk City.