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Car, Remains Hauled From Lake Bottom May Solve 1958 Mystery

November 3, 1990

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) _ A car with human bones inside that was hauled from the bottom of a lake may have been the one that ran off a road in 1958, say officials still trying to determine what happened to the two occupants.

The 1950s Ford sedan removed from 110-foot depths of Lake Lanier on Thursday bore a 1958 license plate, and could lead to resolution of the ″Lady of the Lake″ mystery, Hall County Sheriff Dick Mecum said.

A car carrying two women ran off the road into the northeast Georgia lake in 1958. The body of a woman believed to have been one of the occupants was found about a year later, but the car and the other woman weren’t recovered, Mecum said.

The rusted vehicle was found by workers building a bridge across the lake. The car was mangled by the construction equipment that dug it up.

Workers were washing mud out of the car when they came across the remains, Mecum said.

Investigators were checking with the woman’s family for pictures of her car and its tag, hoping to find a match, but would not confirm the family’s name.

Capt. Ed Barfield of the sheriff’s department said his office has received ″dozens of calls″ from people claiming to know whose body it is.

Two Gainesville men said they believe the remains may be those of their mother.

James Roberts, 51, and his brother Hugh, 49, were teen-agers when their mother, Susie Roberts, then 38, disappeared.

″We believed she was in the lake, but then we heard she might be in Chicago, then in Florida,″ the younger Roberts said Friday. ″We wondered if she survived but had amnesia and never knew where to go.″

Authorities now believe a woman’s body found near the bridge about a year after the accident is that of Delia Mae Parker Young, Mrs. Roberts’ companion in the car. The decomposed body was buried unidentified in the 1970s, said John Ward, whose family mortuary kept the remains about 20 years in the hope someone would identify her.

A skull and other bones were found in the car, and authorities were hoping a dental record examination could produce leads, Barfield said.

Mecum said deputies couldn’t rely on old case files because the sheriff’s department’s records for the years before 1961 have been destroyed.