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Major Break in Missing Persons Case



Camdenton, MO - 12-17-23 - Saturday afternoon, 12-16-23, a Camden County Sheriff's Office detective received a phone call from a property owner in Southern Camden County. The property owner described having been contacted by a freelance videographer and drone pilot, James Hinkle, owner/operator of Sounds Like Videos. Mr. Hinkle is working with Beyond the Case and their behavior analyst. Mr. Hinkle informed the property owner he was searching the area of Southern Camden County regarding the missing persons case of Donald L Erwin, who went missing from Camdenton in December of 2013. Mr. Hinkle said he thought he had located a vehicle submerged in a small pond on private property while flying his drone earlier in the week. He arranged with the property owner to search the area on foot and by kayak and found a light-colored submerged passenger car in the pond. Mr. Hinkle has been interested in the Donnie Erwin missing persons case for many years and operates the YouTube channel, Echo Divers.


Deputies and detectives from the Camden County Sheriff's Office as well as members of the Mid-County Fire Protection District Dive Team responded to the area and met with Mr. Hinkle and the property owner. Divers searched the pond and verified the license plate on the submerged vehicle matched the plate on Mr. Erwin's missing Hyundai. With assistance from Bledsoe's Conoco, investigators recovered Mr. Erwin's Hyundai Elantra from the pond and notified his family of the development.


Investigators are still actively working on the case, processing the vehicle for evidence, and searching the pond and surrounding area for any remains of Mr. Erwin. The Camden County Sheriff's Office would like to thank all the law enforcement officers, firefighters, and volunteers who have helped investigate this case over the past ten years.