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A decade later, YouTuber’s quest unearths the long-lost remains of missing veteran



James Hinkle’s ‘echo divers’ channel plays pivotal role in locating Donnie Erwin, missing for 10 years

In a remarkable turn of events, a YouTuber’s relentless quest for answers has led to the discovery of the remains of Donnie Erwin, a Missouri veteran missing for a decade. Donnie Erwin disappeared on December 29, 2013, leaving a void that remained unresolved until now.

James Hinkle, the man behind the YouTube channel ‘Echo Divers,’ embarked on a personal mission to uncover the truth about Erwin’s disappearance. On December 14, nearly a year into his pursuit, Hinkle, utilizing freshwater mapping technology, stumbled upon a submerged vehicle in a pond in Southern Camden County.

Upon closer inspection, the vehicle turned out to be a Hyundai Elantra, the same type Erwin was driving when he went missing. Two days later, detectives from the Camden County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the license plate matched Erwin’s.

On December 23, cadaver dogs alerted authorities to the presence of human remains in the pond. Returning with divers on Christmas Eve, detectives recovered the remains, including an artificial hip consistent with the one Erwin had, as he was largely wheelchair-dependent after losing his left leg from above the knee.

“While a forensic pathologist will have to examine the remains to determine for certain if they are indeed those of Mr. Erwin, investigators are confident the hip and remains belong to him,” the sheriff’s office stated.

The family has been notified of the development, bringing a sense of closure after a decade-long search. The Camden County Sheriff’s Office expressed gratitude for the assistance of countless volunteers and acknowledged the elation and closure this discovery brings to Erwin’s family.

Hinkle, reflecting on the discovery, remarked, “I’m happy for the family, sad that they’re now going to go through the actual grieving process to know that he’s deceased, but after spending time with the family, they are grieving but happy to know they finally have answers.”

The Echo Divers channel’s role in this extraordinary resolution highlights the impact that dedicated individuals and online platforms can have in aiding real-world investigations.


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