The families of two Tennessee teens who went missing in 2000 may finally be getting some answers, all thanks to a YouTuber.
Jeremy Beau Sides is a YouTuber who goes scuba diving in rivers and lakes in an attempt to solve missing person cases and “help bring closures to families in need”, according to his channel “Exploring With Nug“.
The teens disappeared after leaving Foster’s home and their whereabouts have been a mystery ever since, per the outlet.
That all changed recently when Sheriff Steve Page with the White County Sheriff’s Office said he learned about Sides’ diving efforts while attending church on Nov. 28.
While speaking with a member of Erin Foster’s family, Sheriff Page was asked if he had seen any of Sides’ videos, police wrote in a Dec. 2 press release.
“Sheriff said no but asked her to send him the link to the website,” authorities added. “Sheriff stated when he got home he looked at the video and contacted the man.”
The video, which was titled “COLD CASE: Searching Lake For Two Teenagers That Vanished 20 Years Ago!” was posted on Sides’ YouTube page on Nov. 24.
The 13-minute clip followed the YouTuber as he dove into a nearby lake and searched for the missing teens and the black 1998 Pontiac Grand Dam they were last seen in.
In his press release, Sheriff Page explained that after looking more closely at the case, he told Sides “that he felt like he was searching in the wrong area and informed him of the area where the couple had gone missing 21 years ago.”
That location ended up being Calfkiller River near Highway 84 in Sparta, Tennessee, according to the sheriff.
Page said Sides immediately went to the area to search on Nov. 30, and soon discovered a submerged vehicle.
The exciting moment was documented on his YouTube channel. The video showed Sides underwater, wiping algae from the submerged car to display the “Pontiac” label on the back and the vehicle’s license plate.
Human remains were also found in the vehicle, CBS affiliate WTVF reported.
After Sides came up to the surface, he called Page to notify him of the discovery. Page then contacted Major John Meadows and a team was on the scene within minutes to investigate, according to the press release.
Authorities were later able to confirm the match of the vehicle, which they said belonged to Foster, according to Sheriff Page. It was pulled from the Calfkiller River on Dec. 1, with Sides documenting the extraction on his YouTube channel.
“I’m lost for words,” Sides said in the video. “I’m so glad I could find them. I’m so sad that that’s where they ended up. I can’t believe it’s been over 20 years that they’ve been sitting there waiting for someone to find them.”
“It’s a weird mix of emotions, I can’t even explain it,” he added. “But this isn’t about me, this is about getting them home and we’re gonna do that today.”
Investigators told WTVF that the human remains are expected to be identified using genetic DNA testing and dental record comparisons. Though it has not been confirmed that they belong to Foster and Bechtel, their families were notified of the discovery, per the outlet.
“We’re not sure yet that we have the correct teenagers, but we believe it is,” Page told NBC News, adding that preliminary information suggests the teens ended up in the water by accident.
“All the windows are up. Looks like they went around the corner and lost control and went off into the river,” Sides said in his YouTube video.
Page confirmed to NBC News that divers had searched the waters before but had missed the vehicle.
“They were probably less than an eighth of a mile from where the car was found. They just never got anywhere around the car,” he explained, adding that since 2000, the town has put up guardrails around the river.
The page also said divers from other counties will continue to search the river on Thursday.
“I give Jeremy the credit for finding that car,” he told NBC News. “All I did was kind of point him in the right direction, and he got in the water and found them. It’s so good to be able to bring closure to these families.”