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‘That’s crazy. I come here all the time’: Police pull three cars out of James River, one with human remains

Amherst Co. Sheriff identify Thomas Sprinkle Jr. found in white van. Thomas was reported missing in 2013.

As recovery crews and law enforcement pulled three cars out of the James River on Wednesday, including one that contained human remains, it became a show for the community, some even bringing lawn chairs to watch.

10 News was there, at one point watching from a Virginia State Police boat, as divers worked to recover cars from the James River at Monacan Park for nearly two hours.

Amherst County Sheriff's Office and Virginia State Police are trying to find out how three cars ended up at the bottom of the James River. Human remains were found inside one of them.
Amherst County Sheriff's Office and Virginia State Police are trying to find out how three cars ended up at the bottom of the James River. Human remains were found inside one of them. (Copyright 2020 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

[Human remains found inside van pulled from James River believed to be man reported missing in 2013]

Eric Lordahl is the reason why divers were there. Last Thursday, Lordahl accidentally lost his truck in the river while loading his boat onto the ramp.

When divers found it, they saw three other cars nearby.

“My misfortune brought fortune to somebody else, hopefully anyway,” Lordahl said.

The Amherst County Sheriff’s Office said one of the vehicles, a white 2001 Dodge van, belonged to Thomas Sprinkle Jr., a man who had been missing since 2013.

Investigators found human remains inside the van.

“At after seven years of Mr. Sprinkle being missing. You know that suspicion was there by not only us, but his family. And that’s something important to us as we work through this now is to give his family the closure they deserve,” Lt. Robert Oliver said.

One of the other cars that crews found is a Jaguar. There’s no telling how long it’s been sitting 15-feet deep in the river, but police are determined to find out.

“That’s crazy. I come here all the time, like I said, 3 to 4 times a week, and you’re right over top of all these vehicles. And they’re there and you don’t even know it,” Lordahl said.

Lordahl was there Wednesday as crews worked to recover the vehicles.

“I’ve been here every day watching the progress. State police are on it. They’re absolutely amazing at what they’re doing,” Lordahl said.

Investigators said they will look up DMV records to find owners and learn where the cars came from. The Amherst Sheriff’s Office said they don’t suspect foul play in Sprinkle’s death.


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