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There’s something undeniably interesting about seeing an old car pulled out of a body of water it’s been hiding in for decades. That explains why so many are excited about seeing this 1986 Mercury Cougar which as been hanging out at the bottom of the Mississippi River for some time. It’s a lot worse for wear, sporting non-factory sunroof and other river modifications.

Pulled out of the water by the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office dive team in Minnesota recently, the river was so murky in that area divers had to hook it up with zero visibility. That’s not an easy task, so hats off to them for a job well done. Some local fishermen originally reported the car to authorities after they picked it up on sonar as they scouted for good places to cast. Thanks to modern technology, more of these cars dumped in bodies of water are being discovered. Maybe soon Hoffa will be found in one.

Fortunately, no dead body was sitting in the trunk. Police believe this Cougar has been submerged in the Mississippi River since not too long after it was reported missing back in 1989. Considering it’s riddled with holes that don’t look like bullet holes and every metal surface appears sufficiently rusty, that’s indeed possible.

There are, of course, several possible explanations for why a car like this might have been dumped. The one so many flock to immediately is insurance fraud, which does happen. Some people get behind on payments or they just don’t want the car anymore, deciding to game the system and get a cash payout.

Another possibility is the Mercury was legitimately stolen and the thieves used it to commit other crimes, maybe go joyriding, then dumped it to get rid of any evidence. That does happen more often than most people would like to think about, but ultimately we don’t know what the real reason is and we might never know.

Photo via Dakota County Sheriff’s Office

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