Human remains have been found inside a car belonging to Ethan Kazmerzak, a Hampton man who has been missing since 2013.
Jared Leisek, a scuba diver and YouTuber, posted the update on his YouTube channel “Adventures With Purpose” on Tuesday afternoon.
“It will not be until after a coroner’s report that we can confirm the remains found are Ethan’s,” he wrote.
Leisek said in an interview with the Globe Gazette that the vehicle was located around 90 feet from the edge of a pond near Olive Avenue in rural Hampton. The top of the vehicle was only approximately eight feet below the surface of the water.
A previous search by the dive team earlier this fall turned up no results. After posting their findings, the team received a tip from a viewer that the party Kazmerzak had last been seen at was at a different pond from the one just searched.
With the new information, the team returned to Franklin County on Monday and found Kazmerzak's car.
Leisek said that during the dive, they found all of the windows in the vehicle were rolled up, and upon reviewing video footage of the dive, law enforcement noticed the front windshield missing.
The dive team began altruistically providing search services about two years ago after a water cleanup initiative they had begun ion West Coast turned up a number of vehicles, some with human remains.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release just before 4 p.m. confirming that human remains were identified in the car.
The remains will be sent to the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner in Ankeny for identification.
“A special thank you for the diligent efforts of the ‘Adventures With Purpose’ crew that resulted in the discovery,” Sheriff Aaron Dodd said in the press release.
Leisek said his team found the vehicle using sonar and confirmed the license plate during an underwater search in a body of water northwest of Hampton Monday.
The Franklin County Sheriff's Office issued a press release Tuesday morning stating that a dive team located what is believed to be Kazmerzak’s 2006 Volkswagen submerged in water near one of the last places he was seen on Sept. 15, 2013.
The body of water in which the vehicle was located had been searched two other times, the sheriff's office said.
Recovery efforts for the Volkswagen were completed around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The sheriff’s office said the vehicle was recovered using divers from the Story County Sheriff’s Office dive team.
The Hampton Police Department, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Franklin County Emergency Management, Butler County Emergency Management, Franklin General Ambulance, Hampton Fire Department and the Franklin County Medical Examiner assisted on the scene.
The sheriff's office asked Tuesday morning that "proper space, respect and consideration" be given to the Kazmerzak family and the agencies involved in the continued investigation.
Kazmerzak, who was 22 at the time of his disappearance, was last seen leaving a party near Hampton on Sept. 15, 2013. Phone records indicate he called his mother around 12:15 a.m. on his way home. He was never seen or heard from again.
A $100,000 reward has been offered for information that leads to finding Kazmerzak.
Anyone with such information is asked to call North Iowa Crime Stoppers at 1-800-383-0088 or the Hampton Police Department at 1-641-456-2529.
Ethan Kazmerzak: Still missing, seven years later
Seven years ago, Ethan Kazmerzak disappeared from Hampton without a trace. Look back on some of the Globe Gazette's coverage of his case over the years here.
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