A routine search for clues in a cold case led to an unexpected discovery in Miami on Sunday. A volunteer dive team, United Search Corps, found more than 30 vehicles submerged at the bottom of a lake. The team, led by founder Doug Bishop and diver Ken Fleming, initially embarked on the search hoping to find evidence related to an unsolved disappearance.
The case in question involved an individual who had driven from Pinellas County to pick up relatives from the airport, only to vanish without a trace. Given the lake’s proximity to Miami International Airport and its easy accessibility, the team considered it a potential site of foul play.
However, instead of finding clues related to the disappearance, the divers discovered 32 submerged vehicles. This isn’t the first time the volunteer team has made such a discovery. Across Florida, they have found a total of 60 underwater vehicles linked to various crimes.
Upon discovering the submerged vehicles, the divers contacted Miami-Dade Police. The department sent its own dive team to investigate, and Public Information Officer Alvaro Zabaleta estimated that there were around 20 cars at the site. However, he noted that the exact number would only be known once each vehicle is retrieved.
Zabaleta stated that they do not anticipate finding any bodies or evidence of violent crime, but the department will thoroughly investigate all possibilities. The first car retrieved, a 2002 Acura, had been reported stolen, leading the police to believe that the majority of the vehicles might be linked to crimes such as theft, abandonment, or insurance fraud.
The vehicles retrieved so far are 10 to 15 years old, including a Ford Crown Victoria, an Econoline E-350, and a Cadillac DeVille. Zabaleta explained that when these cars were dumped, the area was a desolate business district, making it an ideal spot for such activities. Today, the area is developed, and the lake can only be accessed from a single point behind a medical practice on Northwest 12th Terrace.
Despite the lack of expected evidence, members of the department’s cold case squad were present during the retrieval operation. Zabaleta emphasized that they would not rule out the possibility of finding evidence of a violent crime at the bottom of the lake.