While Looking For Bodies, A Florida Search Team Discovers An Automobile Graveyard

While Looking For Bodies, A Florida Search Team Discovers An Automobile Graveyard

In Miami, a police investigation into a cold case started on Sunday, but by the time it was over, more than 30 vehicles had been pulled from a lake’s bottom.

While Looking For Bodies, A Florida Search Team Discovers An Automobile Graveyard

When they donned their wetsuits and explored the lake on Sunday, volunteer dive team United Search Corps founder Doug Bishop and diver Ken Fleming told 7 News Miami that they hoped to unearth a crucial clue in an unexplained disappearance.

“We have a case where someone drove from Pinellas County down to pick up their relatives at the airport, and then they disappeared,” Fleming told 7 News. “So, in this spot, we’re near the [Miami International] airport, it’s a large body of water, it has easy access to get into, so we would target that as a potential foul play spot.”

Instead, 32 submerged automobiles were discovered. The volunteer diving team has discovered a total of 60 automobiles underwater that are connected to crimes around the state of Florida.

The divers reported their find to Miami-Dade Police via call. Public information officer Alvaro Zabaleta stated the department’s estimate at just 20 cars after deploying their own dive team but said that it will be impossible to determine the exact number until each vehicle is recovered.

Although they don’t anticipate finding any bodies or evidence of a violent crime, Zabaleta told Fox News Digital that they will “do their due diligence because anything is possible.” Zabaleta did not know the name of the lake.

“Private investigators, their job is to put this thing out in a way where it’s beneficial to them. It’s because they hype it all up. I’m not sure if this is something [newsworthy],” he said on Wednesday.

The first car rescued from the body of water, a 2002 Cadillac Legend, had been reported stolen, but authorities are optimistic that they will be able to solve further stolen vehicle cases.

“We’re thinking the majority of these cars are going to come back to crime – whether they’re stolen, abandoned or [involved with] some sort of insurance fraud,” Zabaleta said.

All of the underwater vehicles that have been pulled out by fishing are 10- to 15-year-old “antiques,” according to him; the others were a Ford Crown Victoria, an Econoline E-350, and a Cadillac DeVille.

According to Zabaleta, the region was a “desolate business district” when those cars first entered the sea, which “made it a perfect place to dump cars.”

Since the region has been developed, there is only one place from which to reach the lake, which is hidden behind a medical facility on Northwest 12th Terrace. Only four cars could be removed in a six-hour period as the department’s dive team handled a challenging operation that entailed moving the cars within reach of a crane there.

Police didn’t “discard the possibility” that there might be evidence of a violent crime at the bottom of the lake, according to Zabaleta, who claimed that members of the department’s cold case team were only present for that reason.

“There’s no forensic evidence you could even pull out of [those cars],” he asserted. Different if they discover a pistol inside the vehicle.

According to The United Search Corps, they look into cold cases on their own “[to] provide answers for families where they don’t have them.”

“Departments, respectfully, have to justify their use of resources, and when a case goes cold, we have the ability to step in,” he said. “We don’t have to justify our use of resources, and we can help eliminate the drag on personnel locally.”

Volunteers, according to Zabaleta, could jeopardise their criminal investigations.

“We’ve dealt with a lot of private investigators and a lot of times our frustration with them is that they may find something – a name or a phone number – and instead of telling local police they hold that information and want to continue to [investigate] themselves,” he said.

“That hurts us because private investigators don’t have to follow the legal system the way we do,” he elaborated. “Defense [attorneys] will ask how we got that – if it’s not the correct way… it won’t be admissible in court… and was done for nothing.”

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