Submerged car recovered

Published 9:48 am Monday, November 5, 2018

MILWAUKEE – On Oct. 27, the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office recovered a vehicle that was submerged in Doolittle’s Millpond.

It is believed that the vehicle had been there since at least the latter portion of 2014.

According to Sheriff Jack Smith, the investigation continues as to how the car wound up in the millpond, located near Milwaukee.

He said the vehicle did not have a license plate. Using the car’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), Smith said that led his officers to the vehicle’s last registered owner, who resides in Hertford County.

“The owner said someone stole the vehicle, but apparently that information wasn’t shared with law enforcement at the time it was stolen because there was nothing in the NCIC (National Crime Information Center) system that showed it as stolen,” Smith said. “We also checked with the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office and they did not have a report regarding a stolen vehicle matching that VIN number.”

Smith added that the vehicle has been submerged in the millpond for at least four years.

“There was a drowning at Doolittle’s back in December of 2014,” he recalled. “When the dive team was searching for the drowning victim, they used sonar to map a grid of the area of the millpond where the search was taking place.

“Roughly a couple of months ago, that dive team conducted a training session where the video from that search four years ago was used for the training,” Smith continued. “While they were viewing the video, they took note of an object in the water. Not knowing if it was a vehicle or maybe a sunken aluminum boat, they contacted my office and we lined-up the resources we needed to retrieve the vehicle from the millpond.”

The drowning Smith referenced involved Donald Eugene Williams. He was reportedly at the millpond on Dec. 21, 2014 where he was seen wading in the water.

Several days of searching the waters of the millpond by members of the Gaston and Conway-Severn rescue squads as well as a ground search of the wooded area surrounding the millpond by Northampton Sheriff’s deputies, joined by PERT (Prison Emergency Response Team), produced no results.

A little over two weeks later (Jan. 8, 2015), a motorist driving along Doolittle’s Mill Road saw an object floating in the water and contacted the Sheriff’s Office.

Williams’s body was recovered a short time later the same day.

Sheriff Smith stressed that Saturday’s recovery of the car is not related to Williams’s drowning.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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