Man missing since 2003 found in car at bottom of river near Wyandotte

Police say Tommy Lange had not been seen or heard from since New Year's Eve 2003

By Chauncy Glover , Dave Bartkowiak Jr. - Digital Managing Editor

WYANDOTTE, Mich. - Friends and family say they searched high and low for Tommy Lange.

Lange was just 30 years old when he went missing from the Wheat and Rye in Allen Park in 2003. Police say he made a call from his cellphone about 12:30 New Year's Eve morning and there has been no trace of him since then -- until Thursday.

"Why can't they have found him sooner, you know? I mean, 10 years is a long time," said Chris Luke, a friend. "He wouldn't just leave his kid, you know, he just had a baby. There was no way that he would just leave his child."

A recreational scuba diver found a car submerged in the Trenton Channel of the Detroit River.

"It was upside down in 25 feet of water. He pulled the license plate off, brought it down to our station," said Wyandotte Police Chief Dan Grant.

A dive team went in and firefighters pulled the car out of the river.

"We were able to break the window out of it and noticed that there was a body inside," said Chief Grant.

Investigators say the body was badly decomposed and headless. Friends say the Mercury Sable found underwater was Lange's. They believe it is his body and that the decade-old mystery is solved, but there are still a lot of questions.

"Hopefully they can find ... investigate this and find out how and why," said Luke. "Tommy Lange ... he was an awesome guy. If you needed anything he was there for you."

View: Missing flyer for Tommy Lange

Dive team recovers ID, bones, skull

The Downriver Search and Recovery Team went back in the water on Friday where they found Lange's identification (his wallet), some additional bone sections and a skull.

An autopsy was scheduled to be performed Friday morning. A candlelight vigil will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at McCaffery's Bar in Lincoln Park.

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