NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Wading through water using a rope to guide his way, Jeremy Sides, a certified diver and Navy veteran who has a YouTube channel dedicated to helping solve cold cases, can be heard on video saying, “we’re almost there.”
The video reveals a blurry image at the bottom of the Calfkiller River in Sparta.
“It’s a Pontiac. It’s them,” Sides said while underwater with his scuba gear on.
It is the same model vehicle missing teens Erin Foster and Jeremy Bechtel were last seen driving after leaving a party 21 years ago.
“The Sheriff of Sparta or I guess that county, the first thing he did was hug me without even saying a word because he has been actively searching for these kids since 2000,” explained Sides.
The newest revelation will hopefully bring some closure to the tight-knit community.
“Human remains were found in the car. 20 years old, there’s not much left. But they did find a few distinguishing items that told them that somebody was in a car,” Sides said.
This isn’t the first Tennessee mystery to receive help from Sides, who lives near Atlanta.
“There’s a lot of missing people in Tennessee,” he said.
In January, he, along with the group “Adventures with Purpose,” found the car of a missing Donelson man, along with more than 40 additional vehicles sunk in the Cumberland River and Percy Priest Lake. Investigations in another cold case, just last month, led sides to a vehicle belonging to an Oak Ridge elderly woman missing since 2005.
“It is an indescribable new feeling that I’ve never had because it’s wrapped around excitement and joy, but it’s bittersweet because you know, that you just found their loved ones, and they’re not with us anymore,” Sides explained.
His selfless sleuthing of the subject of his YouTube channel, “Exploring with Nug,” that’s successful enough for him to dedicate all his time searching for missing people free of charge to family and police. Sides uses high-tech sonar equipment that paints a picture of what’s underwater.
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“I just start searching missing persons, and I’ll just keep scrolling and reading them. And every so often, one will come up where it’s just somebody vanished off the face of the planet, and they were in their car.
Cars just don’t disappear,” Sides said. “So chances are, they’re in a body of water somewhere.”
His hobby is now his purpose.
“These police officers, they have many jobs, and they’re spread thin, and they’re working themselves to the bone. and that’s probably why a lot of these cases take so long to be solved.”
Sides is hoping to change the tide one dive at a time.
“It just feels like the right thing to do.”