(ALABAMA)  — Forty-five years after an Auburn University student vanished on his way to school, his car — and possibly his remains — have been recovered.

Kyle Clinkscales and his white 1974 Ford Pinto Runabout went missing on Jan. 27, 1976, when Clinkscales was on his way from LaGrange, Georgia, to Auburn University, about 45 miles away, said James Woodruff, the sheriff of Troup County, Georgia.

The 22-year-old never returned to school and his parents filed a missing persons report, Woodruff said.

The sheriff’s office has searched for Clinkscales and his car for 45 years, following hundreds of leads, though nothing substantial ever developed, Woodruff said.

On Tuesday, a man called 911 when he spotted the car in a creek in Chambers County, Alabama, Woodruff said at a news conference Wednesday.

Apparent human bones were found in the car, Woodruff said. The bones have not yet been identified, he noted, adding that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is examining them.

Clinkscales’ ID and credit cards were found in a wallet in the car, Woodruff said.

The creek runs under a well-traveled road, officials said. The car was about three miles from the interstate Clinkscales would have taken to school, officials said.

Police said they don’t know what the 911 caller was doing by the creek, adding that his contact information has been provided to investigators.

The sheriff said he hopes the remains will help determine if this was foul play or a car crash.

Clinkscales’ father died in 2007 and his mother died in January of this year, Woodruff said. While the sheriff said he wished Clinkscales’ mother was alive to see this development, “just the fact that we have hopefully found him and the car brings me a big sigh of relief.”

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