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An SUV that sank in the Indiana River this week is linked to an investigation into a nearly 20-year cold case in which an Ohio mother and her two children went missing, officials said.

The Delhi Township Police Department in Ohio began an investigation into the disappearance of Stephanie Van Nguyen, 26, and her two children, Christina, 4, and John, 3, in April 2002.


Nguyen left a note saying he planned to drive across the Ohio River, which stretches from Illinois to Pennsylvania, police said. The Indiana State Police said Friday that she was last known to drive a 1997 Nissan Pathfinder.

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The investigation into the disappearance eventually went on the backburner. Due to advances in technology, investigators decided to take another look at the case this year.

Over several months, the Hamilton County Police Association dive team and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) have assisted the Delhi Police in scanning the river using sonar technology.

Officers search the Ohio River for an SUV linked to the 2002 missing persons case in Ohio.

“But it was not until last week that three unique objects were found in the water that looked promising,” Delhi Police said in a statement on Friday.

Officials said the Pathfinder was recovered from water in Arora, Ind. The Indian State Police said the license plate on the vehicle confirmed it belonged to Nguyen.

Police said Stephanie Van Nguyen, 26, left a note saying she was going to drive across the Ohio River.

Police said the SUV was located 50 feet below the river bank and more than 300 feet away.

It was towed and is expected to be investigated to determine whether Nguyen and the two children were inside the vehicle.