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Human remains have been found inside a vehicle connected to a 1998 missing persons case

<i>Pope County Sheriff's Office</i><br/>Samantha Jean Hopper was determined missing in 1998 with her young child.
Pope County Sheriff's Office
Samantha Jean Hopper was determined missing in 1998 with her young child.

By Lauren M. Johnson and Rebekah Riess, CNN

A vehicle that was tied to a missing person’s case from 1998 was found in Arkansas with human remains inside, according to local officials.

Pope County 911 received a call on Tuesday that a car matching the description of the one belonging to Samantha Jean Hopper, a 20-year-old mother who was reported missing along with her daughter in September 1998, was found in a body of water in Russellville, according to a news release from the Pope County Sheriff’s Office.

A non-profit group called Adventures With Purpose, which travel the country working on cold cases, found the vehicle, the release said.

Investigators were called to the scene and requested assistance from a crane and a towing service to remove the car from eight feet of water.

After the car was pulled to shore, human remains were discovered inside the vehicle. They were sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab in Little Rock for DNA testing, the sheriff’s office said.

Hopper who was pregnant at the time, was reportedly traveling to drop off her 22-month-old daughter, Courtney Holt, in her blue Ford Tempo before continuing on to a concert in Little Rock when they went missing.

“The Pope County Sheriff’s Office would like to send our sincere condolences to the family of Samantha Hopper and Courtney Holt,” Pope County Sheriff Shane Jones said. “We are thankful to have been a small part of helping bring this 23-year-old case to closure.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong year the mother and daughter went missing. It was 1998.

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