PLAINFIELD, Ind. (WISH) - A car pulled from a retention pond Friday morning matches the one missing Plainfield man Morgan Johnson was driving when he disappeared in 2011, police officials announced in a news conference. There were human remains inside.
Johnson, who was 27 at the time of his disappearance, was driving a white Pontiac Grand Am. Police officials said the license plates on the recovered car match Johnson's.
The human remains inside the car have been identified as Johnson's, the Hendricks County Coroner confirmed Saturday afternoon following an autopsy.
Johnson's family has been notified.
The break in the case happened after a detective went through training on cell phone forensics and used the knowledge to find the car in the pond. The pond was searched at the time of Johnson's disappearance, but investigators said the water was murky.
Stephens said once they'd tracked Johnson's last cell phone signal to a specific cell tower, they contacted a non-profit sonar company to search retention ponds close by.
A remote-controlled sonar boat searched the ponds and, on Friday morning, located the car.
"Forensics absolutely solved this case and the fact that (police) never gave up also solved this case," said Dennis Watters of Watters Sonar Co.
Police officials said it was 7 or 8 feet below the water's surface. The car was still in drive with the doors locked and the windows up.
"I figured something like that was the case," said Johnson's friend, Avery Garrett. "But you always held out hope it wasn't."
The positive ID of Johnson was made Saturday through dental records. The autopsy is scheduled to be completed Sunday.
No further information was available Saturday shortly after 2 p.m.
Police were searching for suspects early Saturday morning in connection to a burglary that occurred on the city's north side.
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