Mother in early 2000s missing person case identified after Ohio River discovery

Mother in early 2000s missing person case identified after Ohio River discovery
Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 11:49 AM EST
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AURORA, Ind. (WXIX) - A human bone found in the Ohio River last October is that of a mother who had been missing for 19 years.

The fibula bone found on Oct. 14 was confirmed to be Stephanie Van Nguyen’s, according to the Dearborn County Coroner Cameron McCreary.

Nguyen was 26 years old when she and her two children, ages three and four, disappeared in April 2002. The remains of the children still have not been found, the coroner said.

Police think the mother deliberately drove her 1997 Nissan Pathfinder into the water, killing herself and her children.

Delhi police say Nguyen left a note that she was going to drive into the Ohio River, but eventually, the case went cold.

“Her parents returned from an overseas trip and found a note with that money, or a majority of that money,” explained retired Delhi Police Detective Bob Schwaeble. “A large amount of jewelry and in the note, it said, ‘use this money and the jewelry to pay for the funeral for me and the children. I’m going to drive into the Ohio River down by Grand Victoria.’”

>> Mother, 2 children presumed dead after SUV connected to 2002 missing persons case pulled from Ohio River <<

Schwaeble said Nguyen was a dealer at the old Argosy casino. He says she was having marital problems and didn’t want her husband to have the kids.

Detectives revisited the case in 2021 due to advances in sonar technology, and it wasn’t until last October that divers found items, including the fibula bone.

None of the items found during the dive were the remains of Nguyen’s children, McCreary said Monday.

Therefore, the cases of the children are still listed as open, he explained. The family can have the children declared legally dead by going through the court, McCreary added.

“Once the weather improves, there are plans for another dive to take place in search of any other possible remains,” McCreary wrote in his Monday press release.

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