Vehicle pulled from Ohio River, with remains inside, registered to missing Brookville man

BROWN COUNTY, Ohio — The vehicle pulled from the Ohio River with remains inside belonged to a man reported missing out of Brookville in 2006, according to the Brown County Sheriff’s Office.

A fisherman discovered a vehicle in the Ohio River in Aberdeen Wednesday morning and the vehicle contained unidentified skeletal remains.

Investigators said the vehicle had likely been in the water for years, our media partners at WCPO-TV in Cincinnati reported.

Jesse Flaugher, 85, of Brookville, was last seen in Oct. 2, 2006.  The vehicle pulled from the river was registered to him, the sheriff’s office said.

Officials were still working to identify the remains found in the vehicle.

Flaugher’s neice told WCPO it would bring her family bittersweet closure after 13 years of suspecting, but never knowing what happened to her uncle.

“We knew that he had some kind of illness” before his disappearance, she said. He also was a recent widower, Dolan said, and the night before he vanished he laid a folder containing his driver’s license and other personal documents on his sister’s doorstep, she told WCPO.

“His body’s not been found and his family, of course, is from Aberdeen, Ripley, Ohio,” Dolan said. “We just figured that ... we suspected that he drove his car into the river.”

Flaugher was declared dead in absentia years ago.

The remains were discovered Wednesday when the vehicle was recovered during an Ohio Task Force 1 scheduled diving exercise.

She was at work Wednesday when she overheard the news that a car had been pulled out of the river. When she saw pictures online, she said she thought she recognized Flaugher’s old red 1998 Buick LaSabre under rust and water damage.

A second vehicle also was submerged in the area; however, Aberdeen Police Chief David Benjamin said it was not believed to be connected to the vehicle where the remains were found.

The Brown County Coroner’s Office and Brown County Sheriff’s Office are assisting in the investigation, WCPO reported.

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