Remains Of Missing Auburn Student Identified After 47 Years

Kyle Wade Clinkscales disappeared on the night of Jan. 27, 1976 after leaving work to drive back to campus. 47 years later, his remains have been identified but his cause of death remains unsolved.

March 09, 2023
Kyle Wade Clinkscales, 22, pictured here, disappeared on the night of Jan. 27, 1976. 47 years later, his remains were identified.

Authorities were able to identify the remains of Auburn University student Kyle Clinkscales who went missing in 1976, although the cause of death is still unknown.

Photo by: Troup County Sheriff's Office

Troup County Sheriff's Office

Kyle Wade Clinkscales, a 22-year-old sports-loving college student, disappeared on the night of Jan. 27, 1976. For 47 years, the whereabouts of the young man were unknown, but on Feb. 19, 2023, the remains of Kyle Wade Clinkscales were finally identified, according to a press release from Georgia’s Troup County Sheriff’s Office. The cause and manner of death are still under investigation, and many questions remain about his death.

On the night Clinkscales disappeared, he was last seen at the Moose Club in LaGrange, Georgia, where he worked as a bartender. He left that evening to return to Alabama’s Auburn University where he was a student, according to PEOPLE. It was only expected to be a 45-minute drive, but he was never seen alive again.

Kyle’s parents, Louise and John Clinkscales, were devastated by their son’s disappearance, and they became crusaders for missing persons. For decades after his disappearance, Kyle’s parents would leave a note for him whenever they left home. The New York Times reported that they wanted their son to know that a lot had changed since he was last seen in 1976. In their note, they would also state that they loved him, and they let him know a spare car key was waiting on the dining room table for him.

Martha Morrison, Kyle’s 88-year-old aunt, said that his parents left no stone unturned in their search for their beloved son. However, Louise and John Clinkscales passed away before their son’s remains were found, and they never had any answers about his disappearance.

What ultimately led authorities to identify Kyle happened in December 2021. Someone spotted his 1974 Ford Pinto in a creek in Cusseta, Alabama, and it had the missing man’s ID and credit cards inside. There were also approximately 50 skeletal fragments, according to 11 Alive.

Because of the challenges of extracting usable DNA from skeletal remains, it took over a year to positively identify Kyle Clinkscales. When he was identified in Feb. 2023, Morrison said it finally gave his remaining family members a sense of closure.

Morrison told The New York Times that, when the remains of Kyle Clinkscales are returned to his family, he will be buried between the graves of his mother and father.

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