Human remains found in submerged SUV of missing Ohio mom, 2 kids recovered after nearly 20 years

AURORA, Ind. — Human remains were recovered inside an SUV pulled from the Ohio River last week connected to a nearly 20-year-old case involving a missing Cincinnati-area mother and her two children, according to Indiana State Police.

>>PREVIOUS REPORT: Divers find SUV of missing Ohio mom, 2 children on river bottom after nearly 20 years

Anthropologists from the University of Indianapolis and ISP investigators examined the SUV Sunday, locating what was believed to be a human bone inside the vehicle, an ISP spokesperson said in a media release Friday.

The remains have been sent to a laboratory for additional testing and to determine the origin, the spokesperson said.

The SUV, a 1997 Nissan Pathfinder, was pulled from the Ohio River near Aurora, Indiana Thursday and was later confirmed to be the SUV belonging to Stephanie Van Nguyen, 26, of Delhi Twp. in Hamilton County. Stephanie, along with her two children, Kristina, 4, and John, 4, have been missing since April 2002.

At the time of their disappearances, Delhi Twp. police obtained information that Stephanie had made threats that she planned to driver her vehicle into the Ohio River.

“She left behind notes for her husband and parents saying her failed marriage had driven her to death, and she was going to kill herself and her children by driving into the Ohio River near the Grand Victoria Casino,” according to the Charley Project, which tracks missing persons cases.

Despite a lengthy investigation, including multiple searches of the river, no sign of the mother or her children was ever discovered.

The case remained cold until earlier this year, when authorities reopened the case.

“With the advancements of side-scan sonar technology, the Hamilton County Police Association Dive Team and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources assisted Delhi Police in this investigation,” Delhi Township police officials stated. “Over the past six months, teams have been scanning the Ohio River, but it wasn’t until last week that three unique objects in the water were found that looked promising.”

We’ll continue to update this story as we learn more.