PORT ARTHUR, Texas — Divers this week have discovered the body of a Port Arthur man missing since late July as well as bones believed to be of a Port Neches person who went missing 14 years ago.
The search for Elton Dewayne Harris, 43, of Port Arthur, who had not been seen since July 24, 2022, led police to the canal along Texas Highway 73 at Memorial Blvd according to Sadie Guedry of the Port Arthur Police Department.
During the search divers found a red 1993 Acura sedan in the canal that contained bones that Port Neches Police believe could belong to Adrian Lozoya, who was reported missing in 2008 according to Port Neches Police Chief Paul Lemoine.
"There was some evidence still at the scene because whenever they pulled the car out," Chief Lemoine said. "Of course, it has been there those 14 years, and it was filled with mud. As they opened the door to check it for any person in there. A lot of the mud that floated out contained what we think were parts of a body."
Police cant be sure of the identity of the bones until they are properly tested. It could take months before a confirmed identification can be made, Lemoine told 12News.
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Port Arthur chapter even got involved in Lozoya's case.
Just last month, Efrain Avendano posted to Facebook saying the organization would be working to put pressure on police.
Avendano had been in touch with Lozoya's family, hoping to get some answers for them.
"It's been very, very hard especially for the surviving brother. He's taken nothing but hard punches straight with a dagger to the heart," he said.
More than anything, they just want closure.
"I'm saddened that that happened to this young man because he had so much to live for. He really did," Avendano said.
Lemoine says crime lab specialists will now try to match dental records or take a DNA sample from the bones to try and confirm if it's Lozoya.
"If you compare dental records, then that's a pretty quick identification if you have that," Chief Lemoine said. "At this point in time, I don't know what all has been recovered. So if it's not dental, then you would have to go to DNA. Of course you would need a comparative sample."
The car found this week is similar to the car Lozoya was driving when he was reported missing 14 years ago according to Texas Equusearch.
A page on the Texas Equusearch website dedicated to Lozoya's case says that he was last seen driving a red 1992 Acura Integra with a different colored door.
Lozoya was last seen at around 3 a.m. on Sunday, May 4, 2008, at the iHop restaurant on Memorial Blvd according to Texas Equusearch. The iHop is about three miles north of where police made their discovery this week.
Chief Lemoine remembers Lozoya's missing person case from 2008. If the remains found match, he believes it could give answers to a family that has been grieving for 14 years.
A family member of Lozoya heard about the car being found and called Port Neches Police Lemoine said.
Port Arthur firefighters were using sonar to search for Harris' car on Tuesday when they found the two cars in the canal according to Captain Jesse Fournet of the Port Neches Police Department.
Divers from the fire department found Harris' body inside his car according to a news release from the Port Arthur Police Department.
An autopsy has been ordered on Harris' body police said.
Detectives along with crime scene techs from the Jefferson County Crime Lab are gathering evidence at the scene.
This is a developing story. We will update with more if and when we receive more confirmed information.
GET NEWS & WEATHER ALERTS | Download the 12News App to your mobile device
CRIME STOPPERS | Submit a tip @ 833Tips.com
CRIME STOPPERS APP | Download the P3 Tips App
If you have information about a crime you could earn a cash reward of up to $1000 by providing an ANONYMOUS tip to Crime Stoppers of Southeast Texas.
Call 833-TIPS (8477) or download the P3Tips App on your mobile device to submit your tip anonymously.