Dr. Darinka Mileusnic of the department of pathology at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville has determined that human remains recovered in Parksville Lake in Polk County are the remains of Kathleen Anita Wrinkle, who disappeared Feb. 22, 1956.
The medical examiner ruled death was due to accidental drowning.
Ms. Wrinkle was 27 when she vanished.
Divers in 2007 began searching Parksville Lake, believing that Ms. Wrinkle may have driven off into the lake. Her remains were found March 9, 2008.
Investigators at the time said they believed her vehicle may have slid off an icy road into the lake.
A number of vehicles were located - all within a 150-foot area which is about 200 yards above the Ocoee #1 dam and powerhouse. The cars were sitting in about four feet of silt.
Sgt. Bill Coultry, who revived the case, said the vehicles appeared to be on the old roadbed that was under about 35 feet of water.
Funeral services have been set for Ms. Wrinkle.
She was a graduate of Bradley Central High School and also attended Harding College. She was an employee of Central Service Company at the time of her death. She was a member of the Central Church of Christ.
At the time of her disappearance she was survived by her parents, Lester A. and Laura Ramsey Wrinkle; brothers, Lester Wrinkle Jr. and Cleon Wrinkle, Dr. James Wrinkle; and sister, Reita Wrinkle Mills.
Current survivors include her brother, Carroll Ramsey Wrinkle of Dallas, Tex.; sister-in-law, Betty Brice Wrinkle of Mascot; nieces, Evelyn Wrinkle Caylor Cross of Cleveland, who lived with her prior to her death, and Alice Mills Tumlinson of Vernon, British Columbia; nephew, Ross H. Mills Jr., of Oceanside, Cal.; and several other nieces and nephews.
She will be remembered by her classmates and those instrumental in her discovery during the service. A private family service will be held at Hopewell Cemetery.
The family extended "its deep appreciation to each person that has been involved in the investigation."
The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office thanked the following organizations and individuals for the valuable assistance they provided:
West Polk County Fire and Rescue Unit,
Bradley County Fire and Rescue Unit,
Polk County Sheriff’s Office,
Benton Police Department,
The FBI DNA Unit and National Missing Person Unit,
Ernie Boyd, Athens Tennessee, and Lee Mason, Niota Tennessee, retired
employees of Kodak,
Cliff Frommer, Photographic Specialist, Broward County Florida Sheriff’s
Office Crime Scene Unit,
Dr. Murray K. Marks, Associate Professor, and Assistant John Bethard of the U-T
Department of Anthropology, and
Dr. Darinka Mileusnic, UT Department of Pathology.
Sheriff Tim Gobble also expressed appreciation to Sgt. Coultry for his interest in reopening a cold case.
Sheriff Gobble said, “The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office was pleased to have played a small part in helping to solve a 53-year-old mystery. Our prayer is this brings some comfort to the family.”