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Remains In Van May Solve 17-Year-Old Florida Mystery

The remains of five people found in a mud-filled van pulled from the bottom of a canal may be those of five teenagers who disappeared 17 years ago, a sheriff’s official said Saturday.

The van was pulled from 20 feet of water on Feb. 22, and a man who read about it told authorities he believed the remains are those of his 15-year-old relative and four other teens missing since July 1979, sheriff’s spokesman Paul Miller said.

The man, whom Miller would not identify, provided the names of five teenagers, ages 15 to 19, all from Florida. He said his relative had been seen in a similar van years ago.

Inside the brownish-gold, 1976 Dodge with a Florida tag, investigators found five skulls, bits of clothing, jewelry, beer bottles, two wallets and a license that matches one of the five names, Miller said.

Authorities have not released any names but are contacting people they believe to be next-of-kin.

The van was discovered by a fisherman. It was taken to a salvage yard where a worker noticed bones among the muck on Friday.