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Human remains in SUV found in Ohio River ID'ed as mother who disappeared in 2002

nissan pathfinder.jpg
Posted at 10:14 AM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-11 10:30:41-05

DEARBORN COUNTY — The remains of a mother who disappeared nearly 20 years ago with her two children have been identified after her SUV was found last year in the Ohio River, according to Indiana State Police.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations Laboratory confirmed a bone found in a 1997 Nissan Pathfinder belonged to Stephanie Van Nguyen.

Van Nguyen, 26, and her children Kristina, 4, and John, 3, of Dehli Township, Ohio, disappeared in April 2002. Van Nguyen had left a note saying she was going to drive into the Ohio River, but her vehicle was not found.

The Dehli Township Police Department began looking into the case again in 2021, and a search of the river using sonar scan technology led divers to the Pathfinder in October near Aurora, Indiana.

A team from the University of Indianapolis assisted investigators in searching for human remains. A human bone was recovered from the vehicle, which was confirmed to belong to Van Nguyen.