By Jessie Stensland
There was no body, no kilos of China white and no soggy cash inside a Ford Taurus that was raised from the depths of a small South Whidbey lake May 21.
Members of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office’s technical water rescue team descended into the turbid waters of Goss Lake to locate a car that had been discovered a couple of weeks ago by divers who were searching for a wedding ring.
Deputy Grant Walker with the Island County Sheriff’s Office explained that the civilian divers grabbed a license plate off the car — which had tabs from 2009 — but didn’t look inside. As a result, the submerged vehicle was treated as a potential crime scene in case something incriminating was inside.
The team from Snohomish County agreed to help with the case since Island County doesn’t have its own team of divers. Sgt. Greg Sanders, the supervisor of the dive team, explained that Snohomish County has 75,000 acres of water bodies within its jurisdiction and the office needs to be prepared to respond to a range of emergencies and incidents.
The car was difficult to locate, but they eventually found it upside-down in 27 feet of water, more than 100 feet out from the public boat ramp.
“It’s murky down there,” Sanders said. “The visibility was horrible.”
At one point, he explained, he discovered a dark area on the bottom of the lake where the temperature plummeted about 25 degrees as he investigated. It wasn’t a motor vehicle but what he described as an underwater “thermal.”
After the late 1990s Taurus was finally found, the deputies called Nathan Simpson, the manager of Scotty’s Towing in Freeland, who arrived with a tow truck. The car was farther out from the beach than anticipated so Simpson and the divers had to link together a couple of different cables and attach them to the vehicle, with some difficulty.
The car leaked some gasoline, causing a rainbow sheen on the water, as it was slowly pulled up from the bottom.
In the end, all that was found inside the car was mud, cassette tapes, a gas can, trash and one big crayfish.