The Miami-Dade Police Department is recovering multiple cars found submerged in a lake in Doral, Florida.
Divers working for a private company to investigate a missing person cold case said they found 32 cars while exploring a lake nestled in an industrial park west of Miami. They notified the police, which began pulling the vehicles from the lake Tuesday morning.
Here is what they found on the first day of vehicle recovery.
First car found in the lake confirmed stolen
Miami-Dade police representative Alvaro Zabaleta told WFLA that the first car pulled from the lake was confirmed to be stolen. MDPD spokesperson Luis Sierra later confirmed with USA TOSDAY that the car is a Acura Legend, which was last made in 1995 according Cars.com.
Police divers estimated 20 cars on Tuesday morning, according to Zabaleta. The final number is not yet confirmed due to low visibility.
Police also pulled a Ford Econoline 3500 and a Cadillac Sedan DeVille, and anticipated extracting two more by the end of Tuesday.
Zabaleta said that they expect all cars to be of an older make and model as they were likely dumped before the surrounding commercial area, including a Walmart Supercenter, a car dealership and several popular chain restaurants, was built.
Cars in Doral, Florida lake 32 vehicles found in lake by divers working missing person cold cases
Police won’t rule out possibility of new evidence in cold cases
Zabaleta said the the MDPD team investigating homicide cold cases hasn’t been led to this lake before, but they would not rule it out as a possibility.
Based on the first vehicle that was pulled, he expected that they were stolen and discarded after a joy ride. But they will continue to examine the recovered cars for evidence linked to outstanding cases.
“We’re not gonna discard the possibility of some type fraud that also can occur and some other type of foul play like a homicide,” Zabaleta said, noting that the detectives investigating deaths were on the scene.
Volunteer divers found cars while working missing person cold case
Divers Ken Fleming and Doug Bishop with United Search Corps work on a volunteer basis to investigate missing persons cold cases, they told 7News Miami. The organization works on cases that could have started up to 40 years ago.
They were investigating a case where someone drove from Pinellas County to the Miami International Airport to pick up a relative and never returned.
They targeted this lake because it is nearby the airport with easy access, which could lend itself to foul play.
When they found 32 cars, the divers suspected it was a dumping ground for ongoing criminal activity.
“When we discover a spot like this with multiple vehicles, it pretty much indicates that a crime where they’re disposing the vehicles and hiding them from law enforcement,” Fleming told 7News.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Cars found in Doral lake being recovered by Miami police divers