Scuba diver solves 21-year-old cold case of missing Tennessee teens

Photos of Erin Foster and Jeremy Bechtel
Erin Foster, 18, and Jeremy Bechtel, 17, disappeared on April 3, 2000, after leaving Foster's home. Courtesy / White County Sheriff's Office

A scuba diver has likely cracked a 21-year-old cold case after he found an old, rusted car at the bottom of a Tennessee river.

Teenagers Erin Foster, 18, and Jeremy Bechtel, 17, were last seen in Foster’s 1988 Pontiac Grand Am on April 3, 2000, in Sparta, Tenn.

For years, teams searched tirelessly for the teens, but turned up nothing.

“The whole investigation was laid out on the west end of the county,” Sheriff Steve Page from the White County Sheriff’s Office told Inside Edition. “That’s where everyone assumed something bad happened, but that wasn’t the case.”

YouTuber Jeremy Beau Sides, who uses underwater technology to try to solve missing persons cases on his channel Exploring with Nug, heard about the case and decided to travel to Tennessee to see what he could find.

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Page and Sides connected, according to NBC News, and Page shared the area where the teens were last seen.

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On Nov. 30, Sides found Foster’s car submerged and covered in rust in the Calfkiller River. His YouTube video shows the moment he confirmed the licence plate as matching the one on Foster’s car.

Erin Foster’s car was found in the CalfKiller River, covered in rust with human remains inside. Courtesy / White County Sheriff's Office

“I’m lost for words. 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,” Sides said in his YouTube video.

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“It looks like they went around the corner and lost control and went off into the river.”

Investigators told NewsChannel5 that the rusted vehicle had human remains inside, and those have been sent for DNA and dental testing.

Police confirmed on Facebook that the found vehicle was the one that belonged to Foster.

The loved ones of Foster and Bechtel have set up GoFundMe pages to raise money for the funerals.

Photos shared to a Facebook page dedicated to the cold case shows a handmade sign and flowers at the scene where the car was found.

“After several attempts we were finally able to visit the scene,” a loved one posted on Facebook. “It brings a peace that can’t be explained. Just quiet. Calm. Serenity. Rest easy my friends. Fly high. We love you.”


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