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Vehicle Discovered in Lake Norman is Connected to Missing Tina Taylor Martin Investigation

She was driving a white 1996 Ford Thunderbird with the North Carolina license plate number TNJ-2783

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On Monday 02/06/2023 investigators with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division received information concerning a vehicle possibly submerged in the Mtn. Creek area of Lake Norman.

This information was provided to Sheriff’s Investigators by a fisherman who observed an image consistent with the shape of a vehicle on a sonar device he was utilizing. Sheriff’s Investigators confirmed the presence of this submerged vehicle via a submersible robot operated by Sherrills Ford Terrell Fire Rescue.

A diver subsequently confirmed that this vehicle matched the description of a vehicle connected to a missing persons’ investigation.

This investigation has been active since 2008 when family members reported Tina Martin missing. Martin was last seen at her Catawba County residence on 02/13/2008. Martin and her vehicle, a white 1996 Ford Thunderbird have been missing since that time. Martin was 43 years of age at the time of her disappearance.

On Wednesday, 02/08/2023 Sheriff’s Investigators worked with salvage companies to raise this submerged vehicle. Once raised, Sheriff’s Investigators confirmed this vehicle was Martin’s Ford Thunderbird.

Sheriff’s Investigators have confirmed the presence of human remains inside this vehicle. Martin’s next of kin have been notified. Sheriff’s investigators are in contact with the medical examiners office and will seek to have a DNA analysis completed. The circumstances surrounding Martin’s disappearance remain under investigation.


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