The vehicle belonging to a mother of two children who all disappeared about 20 years ago was pulled out the Ohio River, said the Delhi Township Police Department. Officials this week confirmed that a bone was found inside.
Stephanie Van Nguyen and her young children, John and Kristina, vanished in 2002 in the Cincinnati suburb of Delhi, said police in a Facebook post last week.
The woman was traveling in a 1997 Nissan Pathfinder with Ohio plates, according to an Ohio Attorney General’s Office missing person report on her case. Her case was investigated but went cold.
“Nguyen left a note that she was going to drive into the Ohio River,” Delhi Police said in the post. Her vehicle wasn’t ever located.
The Indiana State Police confirmed on Monday that a bone found in the vehicle is believed to be of human origin, and it was sent to a crime lab for testing.
In 2021, officials re-investigated the case after advancements in sonar technology. According to local reports, searchers last week discovered the Pathfinder about 50 feet below the Ohio River’s surface in Aurora, Indiana, which is about 24 miles west of Delhi.
After “years of being underwater, it was in bad shape. So, it’s going to take a lot of time to determine if anyone was in there,” said Delhi Township police Lt. Joe Macaluso, according to WLWT-TV.
Retired Delhi Sgt. Bob Schwaeble, who was assigned her case in the early 2000s, told the news outlet that the note was left to her parents along with money and jewelry.
“In this note, it said, ‘Use this money and jewelry to pay for the funeral for me and the children,'” Schwaeble told the station.
The Delhi Police said they were assisted by the Hamilton County Police Association Dive Team and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.