The discovery of a missing Missouri Army veteran’s remains has brought a decade-long mystery to a close, thanks to the efforts of a popular YouTuber and scuba diver.
Donnie Erwin, who vanished just days after Christmas in 2013, left his home and was never seen or heard from again. His disappearance remained unsolved until recently.
He reached out to a property owner near a pond in Southern Camden County, near Camdenton, explaining his collaboration with the TV series “Beyond the Case.” Hinkle sought permission to search the pond, located off a busy roadway, using a drone. This drone footage revealed a submerged vehicle in the pond.
Hinkle, who has been following the Donnie Erwin case for years through his YouTube channel then conducted a more thorough search. He used a kayak to confirm the presence of a light-colored passenger car submerged in the pond. Echo Divers has been actively posting about Erwin’s case for over a year, sharing clips of the car police retrieved from the pond and the initial drone footage.
Upon Hinkle’s discovery, investigators quickly converged on the site. They confirmed that the submerged vehicle belonged to Erwin.
“Divers searched the pond and verified the license plate on the submerged vehicle matched the plate on Mr. Erwin’s missing Hyundai,” the Camden County Sheriff’s Office stated in a news release.
The sheriff’s office also reported using cadaver dogs at the pond, which indicated the presence of human remains. Further investigation led to the discovery of an artificial hip, similar to one Erwin had, bolstering the belief that the remains belonged to the missing veteran. A forensic pathologist is expected to make the final determination.
Erwin’s family has been notified of the discovery, offering them a semblance of closure after 10 years of uncertainty. The case of Donnie Erwin’s disappearance, which had baffled the community and law enforcement for years, seems to be nearing its conclusion, thanks to the dedicated efforts of a YouTuber and the persistent work of investigators.
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