Missing Woman’s Car Found in Florida Retention Pond by Youtubers

Popular Youtubers discovered a vehicle containing a body submerged in a Florida retention pond on Wednesday that has been linked to a missing person case that was filed in 2021.

The Oregon-based diving group “Adventures With Purpose” is a sonar and recovery team that attempts to locate missing vehicles and missing persons. The team has 1.7 million subscribers on its YouTube channel, where videos showcase their discoveries using state-of-the-art sonar equipment.

“We specialize in cold cases that people are missing and missing with their vehicle. We have a very unique ability to find vehicles underwater the way agencies necessarily do not,” head diver Doug Bishop said.

The divers came to Lakeland, Florida, to search for a missing Kia that belonged to Margaret “Jan” Shupe Smith, who went missing last April. After searching several bodies of water, they were able to locate two trucks in Lake Christina, neither of them belonging to Smith.

“We were searching all over across Lakeland and we couldn’t find anything in those bodies of water and then we were tipped off by some law enforcement that she actually got in a car accident around this area,” executive producer Carson McMaster said.

After the dive team learned law enforcement responded to a car accident in North Lakeland on the same day Smith went missing, they focused their search on bodies of water in that area. “Adventures With a Purpose” was led to a retention pond near a new housing development on Victoria Road called “Hunter’s Crossing”. After searching the retention pond for 30 minutes, they located Smith’s Kia submerged underwater.

“The vehicle is actually just resting 18 inches below the surface level. The water table never reached low enough that the vehicle could be revealed,” said McMaster.

After finding the vehicle, the team called the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

“It’s not anything that [law enforcement agencies] lack. It’s just – if they don’t have anything to go off of, they have to justify their resources. We don’t have to justify anything,” explained Bishop.

Law enforcement pulled the car out of the pond and discovered the body inside. It has not yet been identified.

More information is expected to be released sometime today.

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