Investigators find possible lead in 2004 disappearance of Northeastern State University student

Investigators in Cherokee County say a new piece of equipment may have led them to the remains of a Northeastern State University student, missing for nearly 10 years.

Stephen Adams finished a final exam at NSU, in 2004. Shortly thereafter, authorities say he phoned his girlfriend and told her that he was going to give a man a ride to Keys, Okla. He was last spotted at a convenience store in Cookson.

"This has been weighing on us ever since it happened and any information is better than being left in the dark," said Stephen's brother, Chris Adams.

Thursday, investigators with the District 27 Drug and Violent Crime Task Force began using a special ground penetrating radar to search two acres of rough terrain, south of Tahlequah.

They were led to the area based on a witness account.

Cherokee County District Attorney Brian Kuester tells 2NEWS that the radar displayed images, which may be those of human remains.

"It's certainly enough to cause us to draw back, mark off the area and determine what steps we're going to take now to determine what may be there beneath the surface of the soil," Kuester said.

The finding appears to be roughly two to six feet underground, according to Kuester who warns that it is still too early to jump to conclusions on the outcome.

"We have to remain cautiously optimistic, but I am that, cautiously optimistic," he said.

Chris Adams is hopeful the search will lead to his brother's body, however he also wants the discovery to lead to an arrest.

"There won't be any closure for us, at least for me, until we have someone behind bars for this," he said.

Investigators say they plan to begin digging in to the ground, on Friday, however it may be several days before that process is complete.

 

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