After body of father missing since 2003 likely found in creek, diver says submerged car’s condition “blew my mind”


A group of YouTube volunteer divers who have helped crack cold cases around the country say they have likely found the body of a Pennsylvania man who went missing in December 2003. Police confirmed that divers recovered human remains along with a license plate that matched a missing person entry from nearly two decades ago.

CBS Philadelphia reports that on Sunday,  Adventures With Purpose described the extreme conditions they faced during their search.

“We discovered a vehicle 24 feet deep underwater down Darby Creek,” diver Doug Bishop said.

Divers from Adventures With Purpose, who discovered the body of the man inside a submerged car Saturday night near the Ridley Township Marina, say the family of James Amabile believe it is their loved one who went missing more than 18 years ago. They say he disappeared after calling a babysitter to say he was running late to pick up his two daughters.

James Amabile

CBS Philadelphia

“We believe and the family believes that we have definitely closed this case for them,” Bishop said. “Like I said, the medical examiner is going to have to do an exact identification before we can say for sure we have found Jimmy. He was known as Jimmy. His family is very extremely grateful.”

Ridley Township police confirmed the license plate matches the victim’s car from December 2003, which with the help of new underwater sonar technology, led divers to the location off I-95. Divers pulled the remains out Sunday, despite extreme circumstances.

Bishop said that workers had unknowingly drilled a pylon through the submerged car while building a dock.

“When we discovered that vehicle, there was a pylon that had been drilled right through the front end of this vehicle. I had never seen anything like this, completely blew my mind,” Bishop said.

Adventures With Purpose says they have helped solve 28 cold cases so far. 

“At this moment we want to take a moment to express our sympathies to the entire Amabile family as they navigate this tragic outcome to a nightmare that has lasted 18 years,” the divers wrote in the YouTube video’s description.

The group said they are also working on two more local cases, including one in Cape May and one in Philadelphia.

Adventures With Purpose is among an increasing number of sleuthing YouTubers who try to independently solve cold cases around the country. The group posts its searches on its YouTube channel, which has more than 2 million subscribers. 

In January, the group located three cars in the Brazos River in Texas, including one driven by a woman who went missing more than four years ago. 

Adventures With Purpose described the extreme conditions they faced while pulling out the remains of a man they say went missing more than 18 years ago. 

CBS Philadelphia


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