Human Remains Found In Car Belonging To Man Who Went Missing 16 Years Ago

Human remains have been found in a car belonging to Robert Helphrey who went missing 16 years ago.
Credit: Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office & Sunshine State Sonar Search Team via Facebook

Human remains have been found in a car belonging to a man who went missing 16 years ago. 

The Sunshine State Sonar Search and Recon Dive Recovery team found a Mitsubishi SUV at the bottom of a pond in Palm Harbour.

The vehicle was towed out of the water the following day and authorities discovered human remains inside.

The license plate of the car matched up to a person who vanished 16 years ago.

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Robert Helphrey was reported missing after he was last spotted leaving Peggy O’Neill’s Bar in Palm Harbor on May 22, 2006.

Across the road from the bar is the restaurant Thirsty Marlin, where Helphrey was the general manager.

He left Peggy O’Neil’s at midnight to reportedly meet a friend but never arrived.

According to Fox 13, the submerged vehicle was found roughly six minutes away from the bar.

At the time of writing, it has yet to be confirmed whether the remains belong to Humphrey.

His childhood friend and the owner of the Thirsty Marlin, Brian St Arnold, has revealed that Helphrey worked the day he went missing.

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Speaking to the outlet, he recalled the moment his missing friend’s car was found.

St Arnold says: “At 6.18 this morning, the home phone rings and no one ever calls the home phone anymore.

“My wife goes to the bathroom, answers the phone, and I hear her say, ‘Oh my God. I can’t believe this’.

“And I walk to her and say, ‘What has happened?’.

“And they tell me, ‘We found Bob,’ and I said, ‘Well, dear God’.

“After all these years, you know, we’re glad that we finally got some closure to what happened that day.”

Robert Helphrey
Human remains have been found in a car belonging to Robert Helphrey who went missing 16 years ago. Credit: Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

St Arnold believes that Helphrey took a wrong turn on the night and somehow ended up in the water.

He adds that it is ‘amazing’ that no one saw him hit the water.

“We’ll always mourn the death of Bob,” St Arnold tells Fox 13.

“He was a great guy and a loyal friend, but one of the things that [this] does put to rest is all the conspiratorial theories of people saying, ‘Hey, we think this happened or we think that happened’.”

Ken Fleming – with Recon Dive Recovery – tells Fox 13 that he has been working on Helphrey’s case for over a year.

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The Sunshine State Sonar Search and Recon Dive Recovery team assisted the Pinellas County Sheriff’s office in locating Helphrey and his vehicle.

Fleming says the volunteer organisations ‘start looking at the person’s work address, home address, patterns of life where they like to hang out, last cell phone pings’.

The team used sonar and magnet equipment to help locate the vehicle.

Although there were zero-visibility conditions, they managed to locate Helphrey’s car.

Fleming says he hopes Helphrey’s family find closure after this finding.

He says: “When the family member comes up and gives you a hug and it’s bittersweet, you know, they’re glad you’re there. They wish you weren’t.”

The Medical Examiner’s Office is currently working to identify the cause of death.

While according to the sheriff’s office, the case is open and active.

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Written by Rosario Monachino

Rosario is a content editor at IGV who specialises in film, TV and entertainment news. He has a degree in English and Film from the University of Salford and a masters in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University.